Every time I attend a conference, meeting, or class I am surprised at how much paper is wasted.
Are we so afraid that if we don’t print it out then people won’t read it and take action? Please… If the information was so great then we would be talking about it rather than stacking it in the corner of our desk for the next opportunity for us to consider throwing it away.
Does that make sense that someone recycles at home but prints a monster stack of paper in which half will be disposed of anyways without being read? It’s like me going to McDonalds and ordering a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, extra large fries, and a large diet coke. Do you think I am doing my body that much more justice by ordering the diet coke?
Let’s take a closer look at the wastes that happen at conferences:
- The binder. Some conferences give you the big fat bible of information, course handouts, and advertisements that give people the opportunity to see everything about everything. I have seen the binder take as much as 300 pages of which only 10% is actually is implemented from the classes or break out sessions. The 90% represents what we didn’t have time to see live or advertisements about some product or service that we will not use.
- The flyers. Extra paper shows duplicate information that is already covered in the binder but printed separately to promote the hot topics or higgest bidder.
Here are my solutions:
PDF Download. Give every attendee a link to a downloadable PDF document once they have registered online. This link can be set up in an auto-responder message which contains all conference handouts, brochures, and other relevant information. Spread the advertisements throughout the PDF document to keep advertisers happier. This will save money printing paper, conference staff time sorting paper, and still be able to sell advertisements to sponsors.
SD Card. Outsource a 3rd party to take the PDF download and all other conference brochures and handouts and save them to a SD Card or memory stick for people to be able to download onto their laptop or PDA telephone. Cost $10/a piece.
Conference Resell Package. Video every single presentation, meeting, or break out session. Separate the audio file from the video file using audio editing software. Hire a 3rd party to transcribe the audio into a typed format which can be saved as a PDF document. Now you can sell the video, audio, and written transcription of every single event as a extra revenue source.