Before we get into the nitty-gritties of the differences between ‘conferences’ and meetings, let’s pose a few questions.

  • Does your boss call you in for a ‘conference’?
  • Do you get to work to find memos (post-its, emails or notes slipped under your stapler) for a ‘conference’ in the boardroom?
  • Do you arrange to meet a new client, and tell everyone you’ll be out for a quick ‘conference’?

On the flip-side of the ‘conference vs meeting’ coin:

  • Do you go away for ‘meeting weekend’?
  • Do you set up ‘meeting calls’ on Skype? (Ok…maybe there’s a ‘yes’ on this one, but it’s still a common way of saying ’conference call’ – as long as there are more than two participants.)

There are commonly understood differences between conferences and meetings, so why do we even pose the question of what the difference is between conferences and meetings? What’s the point? Well, the point is – that the answer provides insight into why conferencing deserves the big budget allocations and time investment.

A conference is a kind of meeting – but it’s one with a minimum of several, and up to hundreds, of participants, that usually requires an outside venue and considerable investment.

  • Meetings can be called for anything, but they are usually in-house, short, basic, and they can be brutal. People call meetings to strategise, but also to fire people, take-away their overtime pay, or to plan ways to burn down the competition.
  • They never arrange conferences to fire people. Never. And if industry domination is on the cards, conferences are a way of getting ahead through inspiration and collaboration. No-one is ever pessimetic or gloomy at conferences.
  • Meetings are…just meetings. They can be informal, but they are still functional. Conferences are usually more formal, but with an informal ‘meeting of minds’ and expertise.
  • Conferences leverage opportunities and potential, through education and networking.
  • The only way you can drink your way through a meeting is by sneaking in a hip flask of vodka, and the outcome of that can never be good. However, at a conference, you’ll get free booze (maybe even some Blue Label), and canapes…and the outcome of that is almost always really, really good!

Interestingly, when you try and find the definition of conference and meeting they have similar meanings.

Conference: a meeting for consultation or discussion
Meeting: the act of coming together

So whether you are meeting someone or holding a conference, it takes more than two people. HB Connect can assist you with both as we have both large conference rooms and private rooms to hold your meeting or conference.