5 Quick Ways to Improve Your Association Meeting
by Karen, on September 27, 2018
Approaching annual conferences and large meetings is a daunting task and it’s easy to stick with what you’re comfortable with. However, we’ve all been there—producing a meeting that feels like it’s stuck in the past. Attendees go through the same routine and planners get bored with the same shampoo-rinse-and-repeat. In today’s fast-paced and increasingly customized world, expectations are higher and higher for more valuable, relevant, and engaging conference experiences.
So how can your meeting address such high demands without taking too much of a risk? Here are some of our favorite tips to refresh your annual meeting without completely turning it on its head:
- Reach out to attendees and prospective attendees to crowd-source content – this will ensure you’re including topics that are most timely, relevant and important to your audience. Not only that, it will help you tap into people who have not or are not attending. That touchpoint will help shed light on develop content that may attract people who are on the fence.
- Resist the temptation to schedule every minute of the agenda. Leave some “open” time to allow participants to gather organically, network in their own way, spend time reflecting on the sessions they attended and refresh before they return to their everyday world.
- Encourage exhibitors and sponsors to contribute thought leadership and subject matter expertise. This will help them go beyond the expected “sales pitch” and add value to the conversation at the conference.
- In this world of highly personalized experiences, reconsider your meeting environment and session setting. Provide “mixed seating” in session rooms to allow participants to choose a seating style that is most comfortable and conducive to their learning style and networking. For example, include a mixed floorplan to include classroom style seating, round tables, highboys, lounge style furniture, and bean bag chairs to enjoy the session.
- Engage newer or younger members by having them serve as the moderator or interviewer for a panel style session, or provide the speaker introductions and facilitate the Q&A portion of a session. This will provide an opportunity to get them involved early and become loyal meeting participants and long-term attendees and members of your community.
In the world of conferences, a little goes a long way. By making incremental updates to the conference experience, you will help attendees get more out of it and keep them coming back for more. This will help your meeting experience stay current, encourage a loyal following, and engage the right audiences.
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