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What I Like About Conferences

This week I went to the global Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Conference in Los Angeles. It was the first conference I had attended in many years. My objectives were to:

– Expand my network of change professionals
– Promote Change with Confidence
– Identify future speaking opportunities
– Observe presenters to learn new techniques
– Deepen my change management knowledge
– Meet friends, most of whom I had not seen in years

There were 800 attendees and the logistics were well managed. Some people had expectations that every session would meet their needs. This isn’t realistic given the diverse needs of attendees and speakers. There is a lot you can learn,  however, from sessions that were targeted to different audiences, like who they are and what questions they ask.

I saw a friend at the opening reception who said my book was being sold at the conference bookstore. The next morning I went straight to the store. Change with Confidence looked great among the tomes of business literature. 

I introduced myself to the person running the store and asked if she could display my bookmarks. She kindly agreed and added she would move my books to beside the cash register (the ‘hot zone’). I think she was surprised when I gave her 300 bookmarks. I told her I would check in occasionally to see if she needed any more. I wasn’t joking.

I saw a friend at lunch who said that my book had sold out in less than three hours, except for one copy that remained on display with a “sold out” sign on it. It was the best advertisement I could ask for. I immediately called my Wiley sales coordinator about shipping more copies. Overnight courier wasn’t feasible, but I know he enthusiastically pursued all options. The next day, the store manager said she had been processing orders, which was great to hear. I couldn’t stop looking at the sold out sign. It was like a magnet.

The conference was a success and I met all of my objectives. I may even be speaking in Nairobi, Kenya this October. 

During an exercise at the last seminar, I paired up with someone I had met at a Toronto event in March. She said she had liked my presentation and had wanted to buy my book. It was really kind of her to say so. I realized that there are many things to  like about conferences and all of them involve great people.


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