Big Ideas

Should I Have Commuted to My Meeting?

The 2010 Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) Annual Meetingfinished up this afternoon, and after three long days of programming and events, I'm relieved and disappointed, and happy and sad, that it's over.

I’m guessing this isn’t that unusual a cocktail of emotions for a meeting planner to experience once a show is over.

Not. That. I. Think. That. I’m. A. Real. Meeting. Planner.

But, as the co-chair of the 2010 AM&P Annual Meeting Committee, I did help organize the meeting, played a major role in shaping its content, and was there every morning before programming began and every night after things wrapped up, serving as a kind of host and cruise director. Which brings me to the only takeaway that my tired brain seems capable of remembering tonight: Commuting to a conference as an attendee/volunteer is really … challenging. The AM&P Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C., where I live, so I headed home every night, but usually not until nine or 10 o’clock — only to be back at seven the next morning. In retrospect, perhaps this was a mistake, because it even though I was fully involved as an attendee and a volunteer leader, and even though I couldn’t be prouder of the event we put together, I’m not sure that I was immersed in the experience of the meeting to the fullest extent possible.

Have you ever planned and worked a meeting that was held in the city where you lived? Did you stay at the conference hotel, or go home every night? Is there a case to be made for each approach?

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.