I've been thinking about Robert Holland's comment here yesterday that he's become "so used to the hustle" from communication conference organizers that purple marketing prose and other rhetorical trickery doesn't shock him anymore.
I think he's got a point. I think the only thing that could shock consumers of marketing copy now would be an absence of hyperbole in conference promos.
We'd have speaker bios like this:
Connie Consultant has been writing, consulting and speaking about communication for three decades. The truth is, she burned out on it 10 years ago, but it's a living. She speaks whenever she's asked to, and she speaks for free, because getting in front of you and sounding smart is her only method of self-promotion. We've never actually seen her speak before, but she came off as real outgoing during a 10-minute phone conversation we had about her session. Actually, it was an e-mail exchange. But she seems really enthusiastic! 🙂
We'd have session titles like this:
A few ideas about streamlining the approval system, most of which you've heard a thousand times
Random PR case studies that will not be applicable to your corporate culture
Measuring communication ROI: Let's tell each other it's possible until we start to believe it
Another fucking panel on getting a seat at the management table
Social media blah point blah: A professional crackhead spews nonsense in 140-character bursts
There'd be testimonials, and for every, "I learned so much, I come back year after year," there'd be one, "the keynote speaker clung to his boring text like a drunkard to a lamppost."
And at the top of the registration form there would be a prominent star-burst Note to Your Boss that said, "Even with the Early Bird Discount, when you include all the expenses, hidden and otherwise, the conference will cost your company about $10K."
Look, peeps: I know you don't want to be lied to, but trust me, you don't want to be told the truth every time, either.