And when we were finally together in one place, there were many new faces. Almost half of the attendees at this year’s conference were first-timers. Some because they were new to the job of government communicator and some just new to TAMIO. It was refreshing to see all the new ideas and perspectives.< We appreciate everyone who came to Round Rock and enthusiastically embraced what TAMIO had to offer: keynote speakers offering expert advice, sponsors supporting our conference financially and educating us on new services and technology, and colleagues sharing their knowledge and experiences. We asked members in our annual post-conference survey to tell us what they liked - and didn't like - about the conference and to give feedback and suggestions on ways we can improve the most important benefit we offer our members. Many thanks to those who completed the survey.
And we heard you. The survey revealed important feedback and some terrific suggestions. Here’s some of what you told us:
- Session topics and speakers remain the most important factor in determining conference attendance. You’re looking for experts who can speak on issues pertinent to your daily work and offer specific solutions and tips. You also occasionally like speakers who can entertain and engage you.
- When it comes to sessions, you want to see some topics that focus specifically on one-person shops, maybe even creating tracks throughout the concurrent sessions that would benefit members in one person or smaller departments.
- Sponsors are important, and not just for their financial support of TAMIO. You would like more time outside of the sessions to connect with them.
- Pre-conference sessions, while not always heavily attended, offer great opportunities for a deep dive into specific topics, especially hands-on training.
- The Film Festival is still a favorite among members. But you also want to see more videos, and not necessarily videos from TAMI Award finalists. A wider representation of work from cities across the state means more ideas for you. You’d even like to see multiple videos grouped into categories like public safety, budget, etc. Also, you’d like to see the TAMI Award video finalists presented “Oscar style,” with a snippet from each of the finalists shown during the awards ceremony. We think that’s an outstanding idea.
- And when it comes to the TAMI Awards, you’d like to see population breaks narrowed so that smaller communities have more opportunity to participate.
These suggestions, and many others, will be the board’s framework for planning next year’s conference in Houston. Our goal is to provide our membership with the best conference experience across the board – networking, sessions, sponsors, and keynote speakers. And you play a big role in that through your participation. If you’re a TAMIO member in the Houston area, we would love to have you join us as part of the local annual conference planning committee for Houston 2022.
Now more than ever cities are learning the value of communicating and providing transparency, as well as discovering the critical role professional communicators play in refining their messages and creatively engaging their residents. The number of first timers we saw in Round Rock was exciting. It speaks to the sustainability not only of our profession but this organization.
TAMIO offers a safe and nurturing space for communicators to learn from each other and from experts from across the country. The annual conference is the best place for that experience to happen. We look forward to seeing everyone next June at the Four Seasons in Houston.
Director of Communication & Legislative Affairs
City of Arlington