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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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5 Unique Networking Events To Try Out For Your Next Conference

Posted by Krissy Conant

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During the summer meeting season, we see all the same social outings listed on everyone’s agenda: hosting a round of golf, running a 5k, taking a city tour, etc. And while that’s okay (there is something to be said about sticking with classic networking events that work!), we think it’s time to jazz it up a little.

Check out five unique networking events that we think might surprise your event attendees at your next conference.

1. Volunteering

If you have the manpower, you might as well make a positive use of it! Try finding a local charity that aligns with your industry to enforce your association’s values.

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2. Adrenaline Sports

If you think you have adventurous attendees, try upping the ante and set up an outdoor trip to a local spot that will bring out the fun! We recommend any of the following outdoor sports: kayaking, skiing, rock-climbing, or whitewater rafting.

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3. Something Terribly Cheesy and Touristy

Everyone loves a good laugh, so try and locate the silliest attraction around your convention center. Whether that is a boat bus, a famous wax museum attraction, or a pedal bar, most people will be excited about doing something a little outside of the box.


4. Family Feud

Sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of friendly competition, especially if you’re able to pull common knowledge from your industry. Allow your attendees to submit ideas in advance so that you can try and screen what interests your crowd on a general level.

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5. Cooking Class and/or Cook-off

We think that there is something exciting about cooking as a group. Maybe it’s the range of variables that comes into play, or the appeal of having a good snack at the end of it. Either way, try to think of some creative ways to “spice up” some friendly competition (see what we did there?).

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Ideally, with any conference outing, try and stay within 30 minutes from your venue. Remember: Your attendees are there for your conference and want to spend their additional time on networking, not in transit.

Networking events are just a portion of your conference. If you're interested in more event planning tips, take a few minutes to read our guide that provides you 8 Steps to Event Planning Success!

8 Steps to Event Planning Success  A step-by-step guide to planning the perfect event Download this guide

Topics: association management, event planning, member engagement, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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