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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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From Good to Great: 5 Little Ways to Take Your Conference Up a Notch

Posted by Callie Walker


You know what they say: It’s all in the details, and boy is that true of event planning! It’s the little things that make people say, “Woah, that conference was awesome!”

If you want people saying that about your next event, check out these five little ways to take your conference up a notch:

1. Leverage social media

Don’t just tweet a few times during your conference and call it a day. Integrate social media completely into your organization’s event. Set up an event hashtag and remind/encourage your attendees to use it. Take a look at what other people are saying about your event on social media, and respond to/retweet them often. And if you really want to take your social media game up a notch, try holding a contest based on social media interaction. The more you use social media during your event, the more your attendees will as well.

2. Designate an area where attendees can relax

If you’ve ever been to a conference, you know how exhausting they can be. Help your attendees out by providing them with a little quiet space. Designate an area where your attendees can relax, check their email, and catch up on some work. If you provide your attendees with a quiet space to go, they’ll be less likely to leave when they need a few minutes for a break.

3. Have directional signs

Depending on the size of your event, you may want to place directional signs throughout the venue. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be pressed for time and yet completely lost. To prevent that from happening, be sure to place directional signs throughout your event space, guiding attendees to food areas, session rooms, quiet spaces, and restrooms. Just make sure the signs are placed in visible areas and can be easily read from far away.

4. Provide your attendees with charging stations

Attendees will need to charge their phones and laptops periodically, so if your event space lacks a large number of outlets, you’ll need to set up a few charging stations to compensate.

Tip: If you’re selling sponsorships at your event, charging stations make for GREAT advertising real estate. Take advantage!

5. Make sure your staff members stand out

Even with directional signs, people will still have questions. Make sure you have friendly and knowledgeable staff members scattered throughout the venue to help your attendees as needed. And make sure those staff members stand out! Consider wearing the same color or having unique lanyards of some sort. Making it easy for attendees to find people will eliminate some of little conference frustrations.

Are you attending a conference in 2016? Check out our free 2016 Conference Survival Guide below!


Topics: association leadership, event planning, Association Views

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