A few days ago I was speaking with a potential attendee to an event I’m helping with, describing some of the people planning to speak at the conference.
The potential attendee asked, “But how do we know they’ll really show up?”
That’s the point where I realized that the growing obsession with “fake news” in the media, which has already drawn into question the public’s confidence in some of its most trusted institutions, may have reached the point where nobody fully trusts anything anybody says to them anymore.
You will find plenty of bloggers to lament what this atmosphere has done to civil discourse.
I worry about what this overwhelming mistrust of everything is doing to undermine the social contract that is the backbone of every single business community.
If somebody is suspicious I’m lying to them about whether a certain speaker will appear at a conference, what does that tell us about the confidence we can have in the simplest business transactions?
I worry that the impact on the events industry will be that people simply decide not to go anywhere.
Perhaps the best deterrent here is the same simple advice being given to responsible journalists whose reputations are under threat: Redouble your efforts to be honest.
Now is the time to focus on the fact that your events are community builders, venues where people of like interest – be it business or otherwise – come together. If that is the promise you make to your stakeholders, deliver on it.
This moment in history, this too will pass. Meanwhile, now is the time to follow through on every single promise you make to your sponsors, exhibitors and attendees.
Michael Hart is an event consultant and conference content professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @michaelgenehart or 323-441-9654.No Fields Found.