Even a free City conference can't pull an audience

City of LondonImage via WikipediaFinextra has run a conference in the City of London for a number of years, which has been free to elligible City folk and funded by sponsors and exhibitors.

Expensive conferences have been an early casualty of City cutbacks, so you'd expect a free conference to attract an audience desperate to network and hear words of wisdom about the turmoil.

Evidently not - the event only attracted about 50 people, considerably down on previous years. I heard a number of reasons cited

- free event is perceived as "low quality/value" (no reason for this to be true)

- quality of speaker line-up was diminished by large number of vendor presentations (true)

- past experience of the event was poor

- topic too narrow (execution management with an equity emphasis)

Yet the most notable reason I discerned was that all firms are under considerable stress, leaving little scope for people to "wander" along to events. Equally significant was that even if they could attend, people didn't do so because they didn't want to highlight that they had time to do so in case that made them vulnerable with job losses looming.

Heads down everyone.
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