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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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MC Talks to Association Leaders: Shane Yates

Posted by Lindsay Wilson


MemberClicks is excited to kick off a new blog series that will highlight industry leaders in the association space. This is a great opportunity to bring together the community and learn more about our fellow industry influencers while inspiring each other. 

In the spotlight today is Shane Yates, CAE, CMP. He’s the Executive Director of the Ohio Society of Association Executives (www.osae.org). Anyone who meets Shane will instantly feel like you’ve known him for years. His passion to make his organization better and keep his members happy and knowledgeable comes across in a single conversation.

Lindsay Wilson (MemberClicks): What has been your biggest achievement in the association space?

Shane Yates (OSAE): I would have a personal and professional achievement. Being recognized by the Association Forum of Chicagoland, USAE weekly newspaper and Connect Magazine as one of the top young professionals nationwide for the 40 Under 40 awards was a great achievement personally. Secondly, having created and led many educational programs through my career it was a great achievement to have the opportunity to lead a Special American Business Internship Training program that was designed to train professionals from associations in Eurasian countries that include Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

LW: What challenges you as an Executive Director?

SY: Email. I’ve seen plenty of research about how bad email is for us and it’s overwhelming. Constant e-mail interruptions make you less productive, less creative. Today it’s easy to send an email, but I think many things can be settled in a two-minute phone conversation that might have required three emails per person. I’ve adjusted my email settings to only bring in email once an hour. This way I have weaned off many people from the idea that they'd get an instant reply, helping to cut down on the email tsunami in my inbox.

LW: As an avid email checker, this makes me re-evaluate how I should handle my email. Who doesn’t want to be more creative and have fewer interruptions? Great point Shane!

LW: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

SY: To Lead, You Serve. The actions of an effective leader impress me most when we see that someone else has benefited from what they’ve done. This is why it pays to be a servant leader.

LW: How do you motivate others?

SY: Simon Sinek has, I think, one of my favorite TED Talks applicable to anyone in business and in life who wants to inspire action and motive others. The important message (which he repeats several times): “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.


LW: What a great speaker to get inspired by, Simon Sinek does make you think about your leadership style and what type of leaders motivate you. To check out this TED Talks, click here.

LW: Are there any TV/Netflix shows you are hooked on right now?

SY: Personally, my TV obsession is with the Walking Dead, but since that’s off until the fall I’ve discovered and binge-watched Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. One of the reasons I’ve found it so addictive is that it’s so dark and the series is so fast-paced it keeps you awake and wanting more, along with having a strong sense of realism of its setting. 

LW: I’m with Shane on the Walking Dead especially since it’s filmed here in Atlanta; I had to jump on board. **Spoiler Alert: I was worried Glenn or Daryl weren’t going to make it in the finale.**

We’d love to hear your comments, feedback or to give a shout out to Shane just post below.

If you'd like to be a part of our Association Leaders blog series, email us at marketing@memberclicks.com

Topics: association leadership, Association Views

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