and I'll probably continue to take it and ask myself why.
It's my fault. Like Charlie Brown with his football, I have expectations that what has always happened won't this time.
Inevitably, I'm disappointed.
I'm just back home from two industry meetings, both of which offered so much promise in content and design, and in a city and in facilities that should have been outstanding or at least great and certainly ADA-accessible, and didn't deliver.
There were some good things:
- Good people with good ideas and insights with whom to talk.
- Great food in a local restaurant and dining in good company.
- Sessions that provided insights and laughter.
- Opportunity to help others learn.
Where it seemed to go awry:
- Hotels that are barely ADA-compliant.
- A convention center that may be "letter-of-the-law" ADA compliant but is missing opportunities to be fully accessible.
- Linear use of space with no comfortable or easily accessible gathering point/s for those attending the convention. to meet for the wonderful serendipitous conversations.
- Events that are too loud, too spread out and again, not accessible to and for persons with disabilities.
- Sessions that have funky (and cool) room sets that are not explained well to participants who sit where they walk in without understanding the space concepts.
- Large sessions or rooms regardless of session length or intent or desire of participants to learn.
- Cold, uninviting spaces with too high ceilings, the same old furniture (or the same newer furniture that's too low!) lacking intimacy for deeper conversations.
- Missed opportunities (like walkways to and from the convention center) to entice and educate.
This afternoon, I talked with Paul Radde*, my friend and colleague, who, like I, so badly wants our industry to do better. We bemoaned that the meetings industry representatives are not meeting with furniture and space designers, with those who understand accommodation for people with disabilities, with brain-science experts, and others to figure out a way to make meetings as wonderful as they could be. We laughed together about how old we might have to be to finally see changes.
Tell me, please, that Paul and I are wrong - that there are remarkable changes [I do not consider TED or TEDX or SXSW remarkable] out there. That AV companies are not insisting on dark rooms. That there are cozy and accessible spaces for people to gather and share ideas. Tell me that our industry has changed, really changed, in the 40+ years I've been in it.
I want to believe!
* Paul wrote "Seating Matters" for which I wrote the foreword. I was not paid to do so. I 'promote' the book because it helps hotels and planners see how simple tweaks can change perspectives and make work easier for set-up staff.
Currently rated by 5 people