The NAATBatt 2016 Annual Meeting & Conference starts next week in Indian Wells, California outside Palm Springs.  I always feel a bit nervous about NAATBatt conferences.  NAATBatt is really not a conference company.  When I look at what the professional conference organizers who run meetings such as The Battery Show, the ESA conferences, and Intersolar-ees are able to put together, I suffer from serious feelings of inadequacy concerning our small and relatively informal events.

But my feelings of inadequacy usually pass as I remind myself about what NAATBatt is and what we are trying to do at our meetings that is different from what those professional conference companies are trying to do.  NAATBatt is a not-for-profit trade association.  We are not running conferences because they make money.  We run them for the sole purpose of helping our members grow their businesses.

The formula we have developed for NAATBatt annual meetings is very different than the formula for a profitable industry trade show.  The NAATBatt formula really centers on two things:  First, hitting our meeting attendees with a virtual shotgun of information about developments in the industry and technology of energy storage.  The salient feature of the presentations is that they are short and to the point, and there are a lot of them.  Attending a NAATBatt annual meeting is a little bit like drinking from a fire hose.  You get a lot of information very quickly.  But you only have to swallow what you want.

The second aspect of NAATBatt annual meetings that varies from professionally organized trade shows is that NAATBatt places a premium on facilitating social interaction among attendees.  We hold our meetings in four and five-star resorts in attractive locations.  We spend a lot of money on high quality food and beverages.  We schedule plenty of time for breaks, receptions and networking.  Professional conference organizers don’t do this, not because they don’t like good food and scenery, but because it is a formula for not making a lot of money on a conference.  But that is what NAATBatt does, because that is what our members want.

The basis of good business relationships are good personal relationships.  NAATBatt understands that and we structure our programs to promote the formation of good personal relationships among executives of companies that might wish to do business with each other.  Our programs are meant to be comfortable programs, conducive to allowing attendees to get to know each other better.  That is why we start our programs with a golf and tennis tournament and why we include a spouses program.  Spouses and companions can help tremendously in the building of social networks.  And the building of social networks that can mature into business networks is the principal organizational objective of NAATBatt International.

I hope to see you next week in Indian Wells.