Jeff Hurt’s blog caught my attention this morning. “Sexy” and “conference” are not two words that wind up in the same headline very often, at least not in my usual association reading material.
Don’t get me wrong, conferences, especially association conferences, are a ton of fun and very productive. Any assembly of pros who don’t get together all that often is bound to be fun. But sexy? I’m not sure that anyone would describe conferences as sexy.
Jeff’s first tip struck me. He said, “We need to move the paying customers back to the center of the conference experience. Too many of us have put content at the center of our conference thus resulting in a human-less experience.”
My initial reaction was, “Wait… attendees go for the content. Right? I mean that’s why I go…”
True. Attendees do go for the content. But consider conferences a smaller subset of life, comparable to school life or a job (which is pretty applicable, considering most attendees put their day-to-day professional duties on hold while attending a conference.) Happiness at work has a lot of important components: yes, the “content” of the workday is important. You need to learn and grow from the work you do. But another large, some say equally important aspect of your job is the experience you have there. That contributes to your happiness too. Why should conferences be any different?
Jeff goes on to describe a lot of ways you can make your conferences more appealing. Remember, though, ultimately it’s mostly about what works for your members! Don’t forget to keep that conversation open and keep your members in the loop when it comes to planning your conferences and everyone will have a good time.
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