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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 Ways to Get Your Members Excited About Meetings

Posted by Callie Walker


Meetings. They can either be super productive or a total snoozefest. Rarely are they ever anything in between. But meetings don’t have to be a necessary evil. They can actually be a really fun perk to your organization’s membership.

Here are five ways to get your members genuinely excited about your upcoming meetings:

1. Prioritize convenience

First and foremost, you MUST pick a time and location that’s convenient for your members. Otherwise, not only will they not want to come, but they just plain won’t. If most of your members are working adults with kids, why not try an afternoon lunch meeting? That way, they can attend your organization’s meeting and still be able to spend the evening with their families. On the flip side, if your association targets emerging professionals, a meeting during happy hour might actually work better. Sure this requires a little thought, but remember, convenience is key when it comes to meeting attendance.

2. Vary your meeting formats

It’s easy for meetings to get stale and uninspiring. To prevent that, consider varying your presentation formats. If you always use a PowerPoint, maybe it’s time to try a video or a small group activity. It’s fine to go back to those PowerPoints occasionally, but switching things up every now and then is a great way to keep your meetings fresh. 

3. Share ownership of the floor

Let’s face it, people are much more interested in their own matters than they are other people’s. Because of that, why not share a little ownership of the meeting floor? Even if it’s just for a few minutes, giving people the opportunity to talk can make them feel like attending the meeting was all worthwhile. Plus, who really wants to listen to the same speaker for nearly an hour? Make things interesting by switching it up!

4. Incorporate breakout sessions

Breakout sessions are great for a number of reasons. First, they help break up the format of a regular meeting (see point #2). Second, they’re a great way to hear your members thoughts and feedback. If you’re hosting an upcoming event, maybe this is the time to ask your members what kind of event they’d like to have. This type of information can be invaluable, particularly when it comes to member engagement.  

5. Offer free stuff

Hey, if all else fails, offer some free stuff! Now this doesn’t have to be anything expensive. If you have a few pens or koozies, feel free to give those out. Otherwise, consider providing some food. You can either take the pizza route or offer something as simple as cheese and crackers. Trust me, it’s little things like this that really encourage meeting attendance and participation.

Getting members to attend and engage with you during meetings is only half the battle. How do you get them to engage with you the rest of the year? Check out our free member engagement guide below for a few ideas!

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Topics: association management, association leadership, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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