Here’s the edited highlights of an exchange I had recently. I had gone to an event. It wasn’t very good. Not very very bad, but just could have been better. And given the organisation’s recent travails, it needed to be better. So I took the time to write about how I – and other people – had not gotten much out of it.I’ll spare you that – it’s long and hard to anonymise, but was detailed and offered some positive solutions. I got this reply.
Thanks for taking the time to write this very thorough response to [the recent] event.
It is a shame that it did not meet your expectations. However I think your feedback is (obviously) centred around your own experience and doesn’t reflect the feedback I had from other participants or my observations (as I wasn’t directly leading on any of the sessions). There were a large number of people who had never been to a [xxxxx] event before who took the opportunity to network and speak to new people and spoke to me before leaving about how much they enjoyed the event.
No one event is going to cater to everyone’s tastes but we’ll always do our best.
Just also wanted to clarify that the event wasn’t pitched as a re-launch of [xxxx] but a launch of our two new programmes and to provide an opportunity for people to network and find out a bit more about where [xxxx] is at and where we are heading given that there had been such a gap in activity.
Anyway, I hope it wasn’t a complete waste of time for you and we’ll leave it up to you in future whether you think an event is going to be worth your while attending or not.
and my reply to this embarrassment
I don’t intend to continue this discussion.
I will point out that I was not alone in my assessment – other people felt the same way. [I had mentioned this in my first letter]. You can’t, surely, expect them to come up to you and tell you this. The fact I did was a reflection of my willingness to help [xxxx]. I can see that there’s no point.
You have done an event that pleased some of the (new) people when you could – with a little effort and curiosity – have been exposed to a few different ways of doing things.
You see, I wrote
“If you’re touting yourselves as skilled at creating networking events but then have a format where there is pre-meeting food but everyone is basically talking to people they know, and then the people are sat in rows in front of some inadequate powerpoint slides and talked at for 20 minutes or more, then you have to expect a bit of cynicism. We have been doing it this way for decades. If it really worked, we wouldn’t, as a movement/’network etc be in the mess we are. There are low/zero cost alternatives that create a much better “vibe” and “buzz” without descending into corporate ice-breaker hell.”
Someone who was intending to put meaning into the phrase “we’ll always do our best” would have perhaps expressed interest in what those alternatives might be. The fact that you did not express any interest whatsoever tells me everything I need to know about [xxxx.]
Many thanks, and, obviously, goodbye.