The World’s Most Boring Conference

What does one do when a major newspaper organisation (albeit only on their online Brisbane – as in the third largest Australian media market – presence) calls your annual conference “potentially (the) world’s most boring conference”?

This is what happened when the Fairfax owned Brisbane Times declared the annual Institute of Internal Auditors Australia conference just that!

The response to such a critique is something that is worthy of examination.


To be honest even the publication of our post is probably giving the original article more credit and more airtime than it deserves.  (And it should be said in our very feeble defence that we weren’t aware of the article until we saw it publicised on the IIA- Australia Facebook page).

The most effective form of response in many circumstances is to just ignore and remain confident in the strategic direction and conference content.

The conference will be attractive to those that it needs to be attractive to.

The conference will be of benefit to those that seek out the value that it contains.


This was certainly the approach adopted by the Australian Institute of Internal Auditors.

As their Facebook post attests the Institute took it as an opportunity to comment on what one is missing by not attending:

As laudable as this approach is, I do wonder whether this response is an echo of a mentality that has blighted Internal Audit globally for decades.

We are never on the front foot in terms of selling our value to an organisation. 

Instead we defend or worse still – and it has happened at predecessor conferences of this one and at an international level – we play to the prejudices of the uninformed and ask of those who don’t need selling to “how do we sell the unsaleable”.


Anyone that has taken the time to read our musings over the years will know that we have long advocated that these conferences be more than just lectures to the initiated.

They should be open to all comers (yes – at no cost!) to hear what it is that we do and what value that we add.

The analogy that we have is that you don’t have a Travel Expo for those that have already travelled so that you can tell each other how good their last trip was. 

You have a Travel Expo to appeal to those that are deciding where their next trip will be.

A corollary to this is that we – collectively – need to be using these conferences as a form of broader stakeholder engagement.

Where is the positive proactive pre conference media management?  Australian Internal Auditors are some of the most talented in the world – let the world know that.

Where is the post (and it should be said that this is reflecting on previous years – we are not privy to what is being considered this year) conference podcasts and video snippets from the presentations?  

We need to be sufficiently confident of our quality that we are prepared to lose track of who are viewing our thoughts – to use that terribly overused concept of “going viral”.


In 2017, Sydney is very fortunate to be hosting the International Conference of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Time to change perceptions!

Subscribe to Receive Our Email Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.