Professional Development Groups: a Thing of the Past?

I was recently part of a team tasked with marketing a huge professional development / networking event. The event wasn’t attended well and was probably our worst rated event, based on survey responses.

We (thought) we did everything right. Great speakers. A great venue. We tied in a networking session followed by the actual presentation. We had to charge a moderate fee ($50, association members received a discount) – well below what other competing groups charge for similar events. We had all the pieces but it didn’t work.

I then started to think about professionals, generation concerns, and organizations as a whole.

What do people want to hear about when it comes to marketing, public relations, design or corporate communication?

I’ve always gotten a lot out of my professional development groups, simply because they help me network, provide resources and better my craft. Yet, it makes me wonder if I’m unique.

In this age of instant gratification and instant Internet, have professional development organizations outlived their usefulness? And, do people feel they bring value?

I’m considering a twitter discussion on the topic. I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to leave comments as well!


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