How to Know When ENOUGH is ENOUGH

(Is Your Conference Program Committee Too Comfortable Repeating?)

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We had good attendance this year.  Let’s do the same thing next year!”

Do you find your conference Program Committee enlisting the same speakers, to present the same topics, year after year after year?

Are these speakers presenting the same information as when they presented last year?


If you answered YES to these three statements, your past attendees may be viewing your conference as “the same thing”, and choosing to go elsewhere!

Consider this:

  •                 This year: 800 attendees
  •                 Last year: 780 attendees
  •                 Year before: 775 attendees

Growing.  Looks OK……………………    Until you examine the list of attendees and find that 35% are new each year.  That means you lost 250+ people who came the prior year.  Yikes!

Why did you lose those 35%?  Why didn’t they come back?

What could your attendance be if you had 800 + 35%?

Yes, there is always turnover in agencies.  And there are people who have to take turns attending a conference.

But, that many?


Here’s some suggestions to increase attendance and not lose those attendees who are saying Enough is Enough.

  • Collect the data from the past five years for your Program Committee
    • List of all sessions, speakers
    • Attendance figures – # new people/organizations vs. repeats
    • Job titles of attendees
  • Get the committee to set new guidelines for how speakers and topics are selected
    • A great speaker can come back, but has to do a different topic
    • A fundamental topic can be presented annually, but must have a different name and perspective
  • Ensure that all of the current attendees will be excited about the new topics that will be offered and plan for the new attendees


According to the book Good to Great, good is the enemy of great.  When we settle for good, we don’t reach for great.