SuperyachtNews.com - Opinion - Conferences, presentations and value

By Oscar Siches

Conferences, presentations and value

Oscar Siches on the importance of networking events in fulfilling the core purpose of sharing useful information to make the industry better…

 

Oscar Siches, industry consultant and marina manager/partner

For a few years, The Gulf Superyacht Summit conference was organised ahead of the Dubai International Boat Show. The organisation was good, the content was fair and the speakers were mostly well-known nautical players and each quite successful, but the event was biased by myths, lack of experience or cultural limitations. I don’t mean that as a criticism – we must consider the very young, local nautical industry in the UAE.

There were a few international speakers and moderators, at least one of them was paid to raise the level of the event and share international experience and input with the other speakers and delegates. In recent years, more events have been created, growing like spring flowers, and I participated in some of them.

At the end of one such event, a well-known speaker and industry leader local to the UAE approached me at the show, and said: “Oscar, when I start seeing events that discuss the same issues by the same people, in the same places arriving to the same conclusions, I lose interest.”  And he was right, because events vary in purpose, from setting a quality industry discussion to adding a few better-known names for participation at an existing boat show.

Events can also be profitable, both in attendance fees and with sponsor support, but this triggers an interest which is not the one that should be at the event’s core: sharing useful information to make the industry better. All of them act as a networking playground, with different levels of achievement.

Conservative thinking, innovating and the necessary controversy to open minds. That's the only way of achieving a rich and fruitful discussion and opening interesting lines of thought.

On the speaker’s side, many consider it a great opportunity and privilege to be invited to participate in such events, seeing them as advantageous both for their individual profiles as well as the companies they represent.

Another balance to be kept is between governments, associations, management, designers and users. Each group has a different view on the industry and interest pertaining to it, and they do not communicate well enough among themselves, with their possible lack of integration leading to misunderstandings. Any marina comes in three: the government marina, the operator’s marina and the client’s marina. All three must give and take until reaching a balance beneficial for all of them, and such results can only be reached by interacting.

This same mix should be applied to the speakers at various conference events: conservative thinking, innovating and the necessary controversy to open minds. That's the only way of achieving a rich and fruitful discussion and opening interesting lines of thought.

Another subject when selecting speakers is to be aware of the speaker’s personal interest in being on stage. The main interest should be the matter the conference is discussing, and not delivery of a personal or corporate marketing message. I would like to see every conference allocate funds for flying and lodging high-quality speakers who could not afford the trip by themselves, as usually those are the industry professionals more likely to bring unbiased and outside views to the stage without fall into the category of self-promotion.

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