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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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How to Nail Networking at #ASAE18

Posted by Callie Walker

How to Nail Networking at ASAE Annual

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition is just DAYS away. Are you prepped, packed, and pumped? We are!

Now one of the biggest benefits of attending this conference is all the amazing networking opportunities available. (Seriously, you’ll meet the best people!) But you have to capitalize on those opportunities.

To help with that, here are a few tips…

General networking tips:

  • Be a listener - Networking isn’t just about talking. It’s about listening as well. When you ask someone a question, make sure to actually listen to their response. Many people at these events are talkers, so being an active listener will help set you apart from the pack.
  • Be a connector - Instead of focusing solely on making your own connections, make an effort to connect others as well. If you’re talking to someone and happen to think of someone else at the event who could be of help (or be helped by) this person, make that introduction. People will appreciate your extra effort.
  • Take notes - After chatting with someone, jot down a few notes about your conversation. You can do this on the back of their business card if they gave you one. Then, when it comes time to follow up with that person, mention one or two of those key points. Not only will this help the person remember who you are, but it will show them that you were actually paying attention to what they had to say.

Questions to ask:

Not sure what to even ask at these types of events? Here are a few questions to help get the conversation started…

  • What company/organization do you work for?
    • What’s your specific position?
  • What do you enjoy most about your current role?
  • Have you attended ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition before?
  • What are you hoping to get out of ASAE Annual this year?
  • Are you from the Chicago area?
    • Or: Have you been to Chicago before?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Are you on LinkedIn/Do you mind if we connect?
  • You’ve been so helpful! Is there anyone else here you think I should meet?

Bonus tips for introverts:

Networking can be particularly hard if you’re an introvert. To minimize the intimidation factor, here are a few bonus tips for you…

  • Brush up on industry trends and news - Before ASAE Annual, try brushing up on a few industry trends. That way, if you blow through the questions above, you’ll still have some topics to fall back on. (Did you hear about XYZ?)
  • Get there early - If possible, try arriving to the networking events early. It’s much less intimidating to approach a small group of people than it is to approach a large group of people who are already in the middle of a big conversation.
  • Focus on what you’re good at - Talking amongst large groups of people may not be your thing, but perhaps one-on-one conversations are. If that’s the case, focus more on having those types of conversations. Remember, it’s not about the quantity of people you talk to; it’s about the quality of your conversations.

Speaking of connecting at ASAE Annual, we’ll be there and we’d LOVE to see you! Come by our booth, the Small-Staff Lounge, and/or the Small-Staff Reception + Shindig! More details here.

And for more tips on maximizing your ASAE Annual experience, check out our free 2018 Conference Survival Guide below!

Your 2019 Conference Survival Guide  How to maximize your conference experience Download this guide

Topics: association leadership, ASAE, Small Staff Chatter

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