Meeting Expectations

“An expectation is a premeditated resentment”.

This is something I have read and have come to believe.  The reason for this is simple.  The author of my expectations is…me.

All of us create our expectations of future experiences, in all of the relationships we have.  There are probably disagreements out there, and that is a good thing.  However, expectations are our visions of what we will experience in the future.  We “expect” certain things to happen.  Perhaps we form our expectations based on the way we were raised, what we were taught in our educational background, the relationships we have been in, the jobs we have had…whatever.

As we think about this and how it applies to events…what connections can we make to the attendees of our events, and their expectations of “how it should go”?

What goes into your thinking as you create expectations when you are planning to attend a meeting?  Do you form your expectations around the education or speakers?  The tradeshow and the traffic you might receive as an exhibitor? Uneasiness or nervousness about a presentation you have to give?  Is it around the networking and the people you are looking to connect with…either old friends or new collegues?

How do event organizers help us frame appropriate expectations, or set us up for “resentments”?  I’ve, been following a LinkedIn discussion around some contributors wanting event hosts to submit to 3rd party audits.  They feel there is “too much spin” out there as to attendance and participation, levels of customers attending, etc.  How much of the marketing materials you put out there, help a customer create, or see as an attendee is a “wish” of how the event will be?

The days of “If you build it they will come” have certainly changed.  Is that making some desperate to drive big attendance by overpromising/under-delivering?  Some believe there is a greater need for transparency.  I’m not sure.  My expectations around events are conceived by me, and I usually can find…looking in the rear view mirror post-event…that perhaps I didn’t do enough to research and prepare for the experience.  Perhaps I went because “I always go” and didn’t look and research the audience or talk with the event organizers.

My experience has been that most event hosts are usually pretty up front about their advance registration pace, and what trends they are seeing.  In my experience, I feel there is good transparency.  Are the events you attend meeting or exceeding your expectations, or “spinning”?

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