I've reached that point in my life/career where I feel the need to attend the occasional conference. There are a couple that interested me here in Bangkok, Thailand Telco Forum, and the other is the Revenue Assurance Summit 2006.
However the costs of both are too high for me to justify at this point. Although I have to say that I did receive a phone call from IQPC to see if there was anything that could be done to help with the price which as nice follow up on the CS front.
Still what are the benefits of conferences:
- Networking - shaking hands and exchanging details
- Workshops - facilitated discussion with presentations
- Coffee or Watercooler chats - sidebar discussion with peers
- Presentations and case studies - slideware and demos
Paul and myself conceptualized the idea of a meeting room in a box when we worked in the same company.
In essence it was all of the equipment plus branding material that could be delivered to the client site and installed very easily in a room on their premises. The theory being that in the large region with many customers in many countries in different timezones the differentiator for the company would be the ease with which the client could connect and discuss real issues in real time without the need to get lots of people on planes.
So what would that kit look like today? there would be a lot of Web 2.o tools in there and some tried and tested favourites:
- Writely - collaborative word processing
- Google Spreadsheets - say no more but with collaboration
- Thumbstacks - online presentations
- Skype 2.5 - Telephone Conferencing VoIP -> VoIP and/or VoIP -> PSTN vice versa plus Web Cam suport
- LearnLinc - demo and training software
- Blog - a real time (as close as we can) blog feed with back channel (but you already knew as you've got this far already)
The first three become my presentations.
Skype becomes the eyes and ears of the participant(s) and can go a long way to being the facilitation layer for the workshops.
LearnLinc is the workshop room where I can also hold my presentation or my demo.
Blog is the minutes of the meeting and my takeaway for future reference
Podcast is the multilingual voice presentation, Q&A, welcome and closing speeches and I can keep them for later.
LinkedIn is my networking and meet and greet tool that allows me to easily approve and contact people in the future.