Communication technology has evolved for the express purpose of keeping the communicating parties at ever increasing distances from each other. This has proven enormously beneficial for the modern lifestyle and especially commerce. Instant communication across the world has increased productivity, sped up solutions and streamlined trade. Questions can be asked and answers immediately received. Proposals can be submitted and accepted on the spot. Information can be shared and specifications forwarded by the press of a button.
Even the problem of eye contact between parties have been solved by webcams, the internet and web services like Skype. It is therefore ironic that there is an increasing realization that communication, at its most effective, happens in an environment where the communicating parties are in each other’s physical presence. This is particularly true when more than two parties are involved. There is, to be sure, no substitute for the conference.
Telecommunication, at best, can only be a representation of reality, delivered in small, rigid boxes of images enhanced by sound. During a physical conference all the participants share the same atmosphere, hear the same background noises, are aware of the same external conditions. As communication is never confined to mere sound and image, the ambience of the venue enhances the act of communication.
During a conference a plethora of lines of communication can be opened and maintained. These lines can be closed and reattached between different parties at a whim. A featured speaker or trainer can command the attention of all the participants and with a simple announcement the conference can divide into small discussion groups which can choose spokesmen to report back or stage a panel discussion. This kind of dividing and reconnection of different lines of communication is virtually impossible with telecommunication technology.
Conferences are the one occasion where top-level management can connect with the foot soldiers of a company. This usually entails some sort of team-building exercise or motivation sessions, something that can hardly happen via phone or internet.
The conference, then, remains the premier way for people within a company or with similar interests to connect at the same time. It is however an expensive and time-consuming business to get all the parties in the same venue. That means the conference must be well-planned so that not a second is wasted. The key to a successful conference is venue, venue, venue. The wrong venue can dismantle any benefits achieved and can even be such a negative experience that it can actually defeat the aims of the organizers. The right venue can create the right atmosphere, adapt to the needs of the conference goers and help the organizers to meet their goals.
If the key to a successful conference is venue, venue, venue, then the key to the right venue is location, location, location. Time is in demand so the venue should be close to an airport. If it is stuck out in deep countryside there may be too many distractions. The conference venue should not be an add-on to a hotel or holiday resort, but should be dedicated to the business of hosting conferences. A well-shielded conference venue in a vibrant city centre is optimal.
Conferences vary widely in size and requirements and the conference venue needs to be flexible enough to accommodate groups of different sizes and with different requirements. Conference rooms must be designed to be rearranged according to group size and the nature of the conference. Contemporary conference venues understand the business of running conventions, team-building events, launches, ceremonies and general meetings.
Man is a social animal which has developed some very sophisticated communication technology, yet nothing trumps the effect of meeting in person and swapping ideas, information and yarns. nationalsecurityofficers.com