The Anchor: How to make industry conferences work (better) for you

20 Nov,2012

By Rahul Kishore


Having just attended a large conference organized by a leading media organization, I have a few pointers that you might benefit from:


#1 Do not go there looking for knowledge. Most speakers are dull, and love to hear their own voices. The really good ones are expensive and most event organizers cannot afford them. So they make do with whatever is available.


#2 Do not expect to engage with the speaker. Most have tie-ups with TV channels and the channelwallahs inflict their anchors on you. These anchors are ill-prepared mostly and forget their own questions. They also encourage their friends in the audience to ask questions.


#3 If it is a one-on-one then the guest is extremely circumspect and cannot hold you for an hour or so. The moderator also uses this to become friends with the guest, whom he would not have otherwise met! If he has met the guest before then they try to make it like we are best friends etc and that works for no one!


#4 Make sure you reach early and grab a good seat post registration. There are sponsor reserved tables but they never work as the ushers are clueless. I have seen CEOs after pumping in over a crore, looking for a decent seat.


#5 A word about the popular speakers. These are ONLY Bollywood…anyone from a Katrina to a Sonakshi works for our celeb-starved public. So you have to be in your seats at least one if not two sessions before the Bollywood session. DO NOT GO ANYWHERE! It is best, trust me!


#6 Lunch is normally better than average as hotels who do a barter like to showcase their kitchen. So, like me, hit the lunch hall at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled lunch time. Large screens are beaming the event live anyway and as soon as lunch is requested, you are there. The queues are awful and all decorum and decency is forgotten when the food-starved public comes gushing. It is easier now to look for seconds since you have had your first shot berfore everyone else. People will let you break the line if you have a soiled plate in your hand.


#7 A few years ago it used to be a great place to network. Not any more. Audiences are random and arbit. A few page-3 types, assorted goras, and some retired bureaucrats are all a part. The marketer is mostly missing. Women are more active as they want to go back and tell their friends they attended an extremely high-brow event! Be prepared for loads of Aunties in their Guccis, LVs, Jimmy Choos. Also loads of jewellery… good on the untrained eye! Happy Conferencing!


Rahul Kishore is senior vice-president, priority projects, Mogae Media. The views expressed here are his own.


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