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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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Live from Chicago: Updates from #ASAE18

Posted by Callie Walker

The Bean - Updates from Chicago

The American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition is officially underway! We’ve been waiting - and we’re not exaggerating - months for this, and let us just say, ASAE and the entire city of Chicago have DELIVERED!

The conference kicked off on Saturday night at Wintrust Arena. Attendees got to experience a true “Chi-Town Chow Down,” featuring BBQ, popcorn, mac n’ cheese, cake pops - the whole nine yards. With full bellies, we then all got to dance (and sing) the night away with Brett Eldredge, an American country music singer and Illinois-native.

Talk about fun!

Chi-Town Chow Down

Famous Chicago Popcorn

Opening Celebration Band

Opening Reception ASAE18

Then on Sunday, the professional development began. Yancey Strickler, CEO and Cofounder of Kickstarter, delivered the Opening Keynote. His topic: Making a Difference While Making a Profit.

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, but just to lay the ground, it’s the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. (A few fun facts: Did you know Cards Against Humanity was a Kickstarter-funded project? And 11 Oscar-nominated movies were all funded through Kickstarter. Pretty impressive!)

But the root of why Kickstarter exists is this: We live in a culture of financial maximization. Whenever we make a financial decision, we always choose the road that’s going to make us the most money. And unfortunately, we often sacrifice our values (our community, family, health, etc.) for financial maximization.

That mindset has created for us a multitude of problems, but one of the biggest is the effect it’s had on entrepreneurs and creatives. To get funding for an idea, that idea often has to fit something that will be popular and a major hit. But that immediately kills SO many good ideas. What if we lived in a world where ideas existed simply because people wanted them to - and they didn’t necessarily have to be a major hit? That was the thinking behind Kickstarter.

Now you might be wondering, how does this really tie into associations? Well that financial maximization mindset we were just talking about is present all around us - the shopping malls and chain restaurants that keeping popping up in just about every city. Before they were there, small businesses (with great ideas) existed. Those businesses couldn’t stand alone, but with a community - an association of supporters - those ideas can not only come to life, but stay alive.

Just as Kickstarter helps support “the everyman,” so does your association. Continue to champion your members and their passions and ideas, because as Strickler points out, there’s real power in that.

For more updates and takeaways from ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition, be sure to follow us on Twitter - @MemberClicks!

Topics: association leadership, ASAE, Small Staff Chatter

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