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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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Is the Force with Your Association? 5 Lessons from Star Wars

Posted by Krissy Conant


Let’s talk about what’s on everyone’s mind from December 2017: Star Wars! And don’t worry - this is a no spoilers zone. Over the last couple of years, one of the highlights of my holiday season has been watching the release of new Star Wars movies. I mean, what’s not to love? Lightsaber battles, exotic planets, space jokes!

So, how does this relate to your association? No matter which movie you watch, the dialogue from any Star Wars movie can provide you valuable context in our reality. Take a look below at five lessons you can learn from these Star Wars characters.

1. “Never tell me the odds!” Han Solo from “The Empire Strikes Back”

A classic line from the original trilogy, Han Solo is telling us that your effort shouldn’t be determined by what’s against you, but measured by your motivation. It takes real courage to look at the unknown and still give it your best shot. (Han shot first, yeah?)

You’re going to have plenty of moments throughout the 2018 year where you aren’t sure of the outcome of something for your association. But remember: It will be your tenacity to move forward in the face of adversity that will be remembered (and admired) by your coworkers, your board, and your members, no matter the conclusion.

2. “There’s always a bigger fish.” — Qui-Gon Jinn from “The Phantom Menace” 

When we have a big win (whether it’s personal or professional), it can be easy for anyone to be lulled into a false sense of security that your work is done. Qui-Gon Jinn reminds us that there is almost always more to do or another project to conquer.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate the wins for your association - because you absolutely should! But don’t let a few small successes leave you out of gas for the rest of the 2018 year.

3. “Every time I walked away from something I wanted to forget, I told myself it was for a cause that I believed in. A cause that was worth it. Without that, we’re lost.” — Cassian Andor from “Rogue One”

No matter your background, there is one key ingredient that can help you achieve success for your association: Faith. Cassian Andor stresses the importance of not losing your core inspiration for any given project, as this will conclusively always lead you to failure.

In the industry, we often call this motivational force your mission, vision, and values. By taking some time to really define these intentions, you’re creating a solid platform for your members to buy into for 2018!

4. You can’t stop the change, any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” — Shmi Skywalker from “The Phantom Menace”

As much as we all love to be right 100% of the time, sometimes we have to know when to change course. Shmi Skywalker advises us that no matter our intentions or effort, some things will always come to pass (especially if they are beyond our control) and you have to be flexible.

This theme is huge in the Star Wars universe and should also be fundamental when you look at the future of your association. To be a good leader, you need to know when to call it quits on certain efforts, or your association could very well end up like the Death Star. And spoiler: That’s not good.

5. “I assume you need something. Desperately.”  Maz Kanata from “The Force Awakens” 

No one wants to be known as a freeloader, especially publically! Maz Kanata’s frank statement reminds us that it’s imperative you’re considerate of the energy, funds, and time of those around you, especially when your members are donating these for free.

Typically, your volunteers lead a huge branch of your task force efforts, so don’t take them for granted! Otherwise, reading Star Wars spoilers will be the least of your worries. That being said, volunteers are hard to come by.  There isn’t an endless supply of them, and once you have them, they can be hard to keep. That’s why we’ve put together the Small-Staff Guide to Volunteer Management to help you out. Check it out below!

The Ultimate Guide to Volunteer Management  Everything you need to recruit, onboard, and retain volunteers Download this guide

Topics: association management, association leadership, Small Staff Chatter

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