No, not that season, although the holidays are almost upon us, too — and I’m one of those people who begins gift shopping in July, so I’m ready.
No, the season I’m referring to is conference season: I’ve just returned from gatherings of the Texas OneStar Foundation, Independent Sector, and SoCap; and the BoardSource Leadership Forum will be here before we know it — November 10th and 11th in San Francisco.
All of this convening has me thinking about why it is that, while meeting attendance has been down to some degree during the recession, most organizations continue to hold conferences at a time when it might just be easier and less expensive to hold Webinars, conference calls, and video meetings. Certainly the technology is there to do so. But it seems to me that while all the amazing technology is dependent upon the science of our interconnected world, what virtual meetings will never capture is another kind of electricity — that of the excitement and synergy of face-to-face interactions.
Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling said the best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas. What better way to generate a whole raft of ideas than to listen to interesting and accomplished people talk about their ideas; listen, think... and repeat? I, for one, leave each of these conferences bristling with new ideas, and something more, as well: a renewed feeling of optimism about the future. I learn how other people and organizations are meeting their challenges — sometimes through technology, to be sure — and I ask questions, scribble notes, and then share my enthusiasm with my own organization when I return. I don’t know of any conference call in which I’ve participated that has ever energized me as much.
If this blog entry reads like an advertisement to attend our BoardSource Leadership Forum, I suppose I must plead guilty to some extent, but please forgive me: the meetings I’ve recently been to have whetted my appetite for more, and I can hardly wait for the camaraderie, the learning, the excitement, and even the fun, that awaits me in San Francisco. If you’re coming, I look forward to seeing you there; if you’re not, I’ll report back on the proceedings in this space when I return.