Posts by Annie Lowney

Annie Lowney

Overheard at the World's Most Disappointing Conference

- How was the conference?
- Do you really want to know?

- That bad, huh?
- My cortisol levels peaked in the queue* to register, and don’t get me started on the toilet queue.
- It was that long?
- It had the parameters of a small country with lots of hostile locals.
- Urgh.
- Then there was the swag bag… glossy sales brochures that everyone dumped in front of the sign that said, “We are a sustainable conference”.

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Annie Lowney

Free vs Paid Events | Lessons from Learn Inbound

A lot of event organisers avoid hosting free events. They treat them like the plague. This quote from our interview with Mark Breen sums up how a lot of people feel about them:

“Free events are a pain in the f**king hole. In the event industry, for loads of reasons, the worst type of event is a free, unticketed event."

"It has the potential to cause unknown problems, and you miss out on so much quality information because no one's registered.”


Mark Scully of Learn Inbound begs to differ. He believes that they have a lot of value if they are ticketed, “the benefit of a free event is even if the attendees are not 100% sure they're going to attend, they're still going to register their interest in it. Events like this are great for getting more broad brand awareness because people will openly pass it along to someone else. We did no form of paid advertising for our free events, none at all. We just listed it online and organically it was getting passed around to people.”

Free events allowed him to build his brand. For example he could grow a mailing list:

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Annie Lowney

New Innovations for Presentations: Tips from Prezi

We’ve all sat through tedious presentations. You know the ones. With slides in font 8 squeezed in for dear life?

Then there are the frightened, monotone presenters that unite with you in willing time to pass quickly so that you all can start on the snacks.

We have all given presentations. If you haven’t yet, you will. It’s inevitable. Not many people look forward to that experience. It’s kind of like conscription for the business world if you will; you have to do it or you could get in serious trouble. 

Csaba Faix is EMEA Communications lead for Prezi, “the innovative presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter.” In a recent chat, he shared with us the science behind giving a great presentation:

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Annie Lowney

Innovative Ways to Run A Conference: 10 Years of Tips

John Davey, founder of Reasons To, shares his innovative event production tips.

Conferences targeted at creative professionals is a very competitive space. Only a few conferences survive past three years. Survival nowadays is down to the quality and innovation of the production. There was a time when there was only a handful of creative conferences but now they are as common as gluten free cookies.

Debt forced him into creating a conference

John started creating conferences in 2006, the current name of the conference is Reasons to. That’s over a decade of longevity; something that is a rarity. John Davey, the founder, started the conference because he had no other options:

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Annie Lowney

Tito will be GDPR compliant by March

We got this.

Relax in the knowledge that our lawyers are making sure that our processes are running to GDPR standards.           

The halcyon days of merely exchanging money for goods and services is all but a hazy memory. It’s hard to think of a time when you didn’t have to supply your personal details to complete a purchase.

Data has become a commodity and, as a result, some questionable approaches to data collection have arisen in recent years. The desire to know more about a person has, at times, crept into the invasive.

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Annie Lowney

Event Tech To Try For Your Next Conference

Alex Norman, founder of Tech Toronto, & Lynn Grogan, event producer for Clojure Conferences, share their thoughts.

It’s tempting to avoid innovation when it comes to events. You may be thinking, “checking in 500 attendees by paper worked fine for me last year despite my wrist getting repetitive strain injury... anyhow there’s too many trees in the world.”

Trust us, it’s okay to experiment with the creation of your event. Aim to try one new idea for your next event. In this article Lynn Grogan, event producer for Clojure Conferences, and Alex Norman, founder of Tech Toronto, share with us the technology they use for their pre-event and on the day event planning.

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Annie Lowney

Tactics You Need To Use When Planning A Career Fair

Colleen Casey of Devex, a global development community, shares her tips.

There is a lot of expectation from attendees when they sign up for a career fair. They put hope and trust in you as an organiser. Job hunting is as tough as the steak that my mother “cooks” and, unfortunately, there are umpteen career fairs out there that don't make it much easier.

Attendees are packed into a stuffy venue. They queue for too long to get a leaflet from a recruiter that's too busy to talk to them but says, “here’s a free keyring.” Why should an attendee have to print out their resumé if they already paid to attend the fair? Isn’t it a tad cheeky to expect them to fork out more to do that, especially if they are unemployed? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to create a careers fair that puts its attendees needs first? 

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Annie Lowney

Niche Tech Events in Regional Areas Help Create Diverse Tech Clusters

Aaron Quint, pictured above, co-founder of Catskills Conf gives his insights

Big city living is not for everyone. The rush, the noise, the lunch queues, the traffic, the crazy rent, food bills that make you weep, all of which comes together to whisper, “just keeping city living real for you, pal.”

There's a risk that only hosting tech events in large cities can contribute to a lack of tech diversity. Catering only to economically comfortable, tech-literate city dwellers isolates rural dwellers from becoming part of the tech conversation.

The main fear that prevents people from leaving the likes of New York or London is that they'll be isolated from like-minded people. But, is it possible to replicate the openness and exchange of ideas that cities provide?

Aaron Quint, co-founder of Catskills Conf, argues that it is. His approach is to attract that tech knowledge from major cities to his regional event whilst involving locals in the organisation of it.

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