Do You Know Your Attendees’ Biggest Pet Peeves?

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pet peeves

Everyone has pet peeves, and meeting and event attendees are no exception. Liz Lathan, CMP, CMO and Cofounder of Haute Companies, had the idea to crowdsource some of the worst of the worst attendee pet peeves through her company’s LinkedIn group. The result is a sad/hilarious booklet, The Attendee Bill of Rights.

Pet peeves don’t stay at home when attendees travel to an in-person meeting or event. And, despite all we’ve learned over the past two years of having to meet online rather than face-to-face, now that in-person events are starting to happen again in a bigger way, some of the top offenders are coming back as well.

Liz Lathan, CMP, CMO and Cofounder of Haute Companies, had the idea a month or so ago to ask her company’s LinkedIn group what their top pet peeves are when they go to a conference. She then put the crowdsourced responses together into a booklet she calls The Attendee Bill of Rights: A Guide to Creating Attendee-First Experiences, As Told By Attendees.

The results will ring with pretty much anyone who has ever attended an event. For example, among the seven rights listed under the Content heading are the right to hear content that was promised on the agenda and the right to not be expected to sit through more than 90 minutes of keynotes without a break. Under Food & Beverage, people want protein at breakfast and healthy and indulgent treats.

The biggest list of pet peeves, however, falls under the Experience heading, from not having to sit on the floor to charge devices to having readily available places to put those healthy and indulgent treats down so they don’t have to juggle plates and cups in order to eat, drink, shake hands and exchange business cards.

Among the pet peeves that really rang with commenters was, “I will not be herded like a cow between sessions,” offered by speaker/trainer/author/director of experience Phil Mershon. Another was what may become a new entry into the meetings and events lexicon, “xylophone shaming,” as in going up and “dinging” those last few stragglers who are trying to finish a conversation before heading into the next breakout. Another callout went to a contribution by event industry speaker/author Julius Solaris about the right not to be sold to without the attendees’ explicit consent. As he said in his crowdsourced comment, “It’s funny to me how the industry is so touchy about data (correctly so) but then open to abusive selling in.”

As Lathan says in a comment on her posting of the booklet, she understands that the new reality for event professionals is “that we all are doing more events with smaller budgets, fewer people, less available, double the costs … and executives, producers and planners are reverting back to what’s the quickest, easiest, cheapest way to get things done.” However, her hope, she says, is that “We can all laugh about the really bad choices and at least avoid those for our participants as we right the ship and build a brighter future together!”

And Latham may not stop with The Attendee Bill of Rights. As she says in a comment on the post, “I can see a whole series here!” In the meantime, she invites all to drop by and add to the attendee pet peeves collection on her LinkedIn page.

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