Readers' Forum

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Anon, Glasgow 18/01/2017 [1]

Why can't we ask our members?

I don't want to name the specific destination, but our 2018 congress is due to be held in a city which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, not just terrorism. We want to support the city, but the board is split on whether or not to pull out now. I have suggested putting a vote to members, but the idea was dismissed almost out of hand. I don't see why? Have any of your readers put this kind of issue to their members - and with what results? I'd love to hear any examples.

Nicole Donnelly of IAPMA 03/02/2017

In the 2nd half of 2014, my association was set to have our 2016 meeting in Turkey, close to Istanbul. While the political situation progressed very rapidly there and we were forced to cancel for multiple reasons, the nomination process for our "substitute" location was put up to a general member vote-- for approval or disapproval, not for choice of venue. // The reason why your committee/board dismissed it out of hand is because turning over this vote in YOUR situation to the general membership is to open your governance to the general membership. That is not the reason why you are in a position of leadership, and it directly undermines your perceived authority and expertise. Your job as the board is to make informed, well-researched decisions. This means looking at (multiple) news sources outside of your own country to get a more balanced perspective. Yes, it’s a tough to reach consensus on such a matter, but the director/president/meeting director should be responsible to present the situation, with pro’s and con’s in DETAIL to the rest of the committee to either go forward or cancel. // If WAIT-AND-SEE (which is very difficult in terms of communicating in a timely fashion with your members) is recommended or necessary, there are ways to gracefully bend the truth while still communicating as much as possible with your members. //
My best suggestions are to consult with members, colleagues, or contacts residing IN that COUNTRY / CITY, and to consult with past board directors of your organization. See if anyone from WITHIN has had to deal with this before. It’s not as uncommon as you think.



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Stefan Luke 04/01/2017 [0]

How do we engage our remote audience?

We have been experimenting with hybrid at a few of our smaller meetings and take up for remote participation has been good in each instance. But it sometimes feels like there's a huge gap between the live event and those watching at home or in the office that we are no bridging. We have had very little interaction from those taking part online. How do we solve this problem?



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Anon 23/11/2016 [0]

Muslim delegates in the Trump era

Our congress is being held in the US in 2020. About 20 per cent of our membership would identify as Muslim. My question is a simple one: how worried should we be about access for the 20 per cent?



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Sue Damment 19/10/2016 [1]

Should we co-locate?

We have been approached by a larger medical society about the possibility of co-locating our meetings. I can see why this makes sense financially and there might be some fruitful intellectual cross-pollination, but I'm nervous our event might simply be swallowed up or subsumed into the bigger one, if we're not very careful about branding etc. Does anyone have any experience of this? Can you offer any tips?

Anonymous user 18/11/2016

You have to tread carefully. How closely do your meetings align? What would your members think about it?



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S J Golightly jnr 14/09/2016 [2]

How can we stop drift to AirBnB?

It's congress time again and we've noticed more and more of our delegates finding their own accommodation through sites like Airbnb and HomeAway - we estimate 25-30 per cent this year. We'd really like to stop this drift away from block bookings, because we feel it's detrimental to the atmosphere and cohesive nature of the congress we are trying to create. A lot of informal networking is being lost as delegates disappear on their own after session or get away early after evening functions to find the nearest tube station. Also we are finding it harder to get good deals for room blocks on depleted numbers. Does anyone have any advice??

Kerrin MacPhie of ACC Liverpool 16/09/2016


Airbnb is here to stay and we need to find ways of working with them so they become part of event support mix than alien to it. IAPCO recently reported a huge drop in ABS due to this factor, something they accept. A vital ingredient, therefore, is to create networking opportunities for delegate to engage during the event day and a key time for this is over lunch, however, a developing trend is to move away from providing lunch and having a retail cash catering offer which could mean that delegates are lost as they explore lunch options, potentially away from the conference.

Steve Botham 07/10/2016

I endorse Kerrin's comments wholeheartedly. Something about King Canute springs to mind. We simply have to respond as best we can to the prevailing trends. No point trying to stop them.



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Sarah Watson-Hyde 17/08/2016 [1]

Will demanding delegates go green?

As an association we are keen to reduce the environmental impact of our annual congress. The issue is our members are high net-worth individuals and can be quite demanding when it comes to F&B, transport etc. Ideally we'd like no bottled water, juice etc in sessions, stationery only on demand, and smaller plates at the buffet etc. Also we'd like our delegates to travel around the host city by public transport whenever possible. This is going to be a VERY TOUGH SELL!! Any suggestions?

Simon Birch 25/08/2016

I think you might be pleasantly surprised how amenable your delegates are to this kind of thing. You have to take them with you on this, make it part of the whole experience. Also , as well as stick - can you think of some environmentally-aware 'carrot' that might sugar-coat the whole experience for them?



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