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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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Lessons from the Veterans: What to Expect at ASAE Annual

Posted by Callie Walker

Lessons from ASAE Annual Veterans.jpg

ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition is quickly approaching! Not sure what to expect? We asked our veteran attendees and here’s what they had to say…

What’s one piece of advice you would give to ASAE Annual first-timers?

Laura Sanders, Director of Sales: “I have a few pieces of advice! 1) Enjoy the location! The ASAE Annual Meeting hosts do A TON of work planning and putting on a fun, educational, and productive experience in the host city. Take time to soak in the sights, history, and cuisine! (Personal tip: Take at least one morning or night to dine in a local restaurant.)

2) Take notes in the sessions! ASAE does a phenomenal job of putting together a rockstar team of speakers that provide incredible insights. Don't rely solely on accessing the PowerPoint presentations after the meeting. You will miss (or forget) some key insights that you took away during the sessions.

3) Get your rest! There are a plethora of events, such as speaker sessions, the expo, volunteer opportunities, and countless receptions and parties. The days are LONG! Take care of yourself and make sure to rest enough so you can enjoy the meeting from start to finish. (Personal tip: I always pack plenty of coconut water, herbal tea, and night time face masks!)”

As someone who’s been to the show four times, what’s your favorite thing about ASAE Annual?

Kinsey Mahan, Upgrade Team Lead: “My favorite thing about ASAE is getting to put a face to a name. Oftentimes I have the chance to meet a customer in person I’ve been working with via phone and email for years, and it’s so fun to get to know each other face to face!”

One CAN’T-MISS event at ASAE Annual - Go!

Lindsay Smith, Marketing Manager: “There are so many great events going on during the conference! BUT my favorite is Sunday evening which is full of excitement for small staff associations. We kick it off with a Small Staff Reception and then head to the Small Staff Shindig. It’s a can’t-miss night (it’s hard to name just one)!”

Any advice for helping attendees maximize their conference experience?

Adam Kearney, Vice President of Marketing: “Make a plan! Even the best run conferences can leave you feeling lost if you don’t take the time to get oriented. That extra time up front studying the schedule and learning the layout will mean more time to be in the moment later.”

3 must-bring items to ASAE Annual:

Spence Downs, Solution Advisor: “If I had to name the things that you MUST bring to ASAE they would be the things that I have previously not done a good job with. The first year, I didn't bring a good bag. It's great to be able to have a computer with you or to put your notes up for a bit. (Plus, you can carry around snacks, a drink, Advil, and bandaids - all recommended!)

Next, I’d recommend a light jacket. You can go through what seems to be 40-degree temperature swings throughout the day, and without a jacket, you can actually feel way fatigued way earlier in the day. (I’d recommend one that’s warm but packs down well.)

The last essential item is one that can make or break your conference experience: shoes! Please, please, PLEASE bring shoes that you can stand to walk a lot in (or you’ll pay for it later).

With those three things, a good attitude, and your business cards, you should be in good shape for ASAE Annual!”

And now, one newbie question…

As an ASAE first-timer, what are you most looking forward to?

Krissy Conant, Marketing Coordinator: “For me, this ASAE Annual Meeting is a way for me to see the real nuts and bolts of the association industry. While webinars and content articles can really be informative about our industry, I believe that this first hand experience with other partners, vendors, and associations will be eye-opening on how to better help our customers!”

So there you have it, folks! We hope these tips can be of help!

Now who’s ready to have a GREAT time in Toronto?! For more tips regarding maximizing your conference experience, check out our free 2017 Conference Survival Guide below!

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

Topics: association management, association leadership, ASAE, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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