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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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Nurturing a More Active Association: 4 Exercises to Try

Posted by Krissy Conant


Feeling like your meetings are falling a little flat? No matter your generation, fitness is on everyone’s mind - and that means your members too. So why not start incorporating some movement into your meetings to pump up that engagement?

Check out these four easy ways to start making your association’s meetups a little more active!

Include a Fitness Activity at Your Conference

One of the easiest ways for you to urge your members to become more engaged at your association’s event is by integrating their personal interests with their professional development. Depending on your resources, consider trying the following activities before your event commences (in order of organizational difficulty):

  • An hour yoga session. What you’ll need: floor space, a yoga instructor, yoga mats (if your location requires members to fly), and a quiet location. This activity is a great way for members to clear their mind for the mental activities ahead.
  • A coordinated bike ride. What you’ll need: a predetermined route and bikes (if your location requires members to fly). It’ll be a great way for members to come together as a team, even if they aren’t talking at the time. (But bonus: It gives them something to talk about afterwards!)
  • A 5K/10K run. What you need: volunteers, water,  snacks, and shutting down a public road or two. While this activity is one of the easiest for your members to complete, it will require a bit of work on your end (unless you enforce that it’s a more casual run).

Add Standing or Walking in Your Meetings

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for your members! Sometimes it just takes switching up your association’s routine to get your members re-engaged. To start, we recommend including at least one session at your annual convention that incorporates walking as opposed to sitting. This format will attract those members who are looking to incorporate a little extra exercise without forcing all of your members into movement. Just make sure to keep the group small so that no one falls behind!

In addition, consider encouraging folks to stand when it comes to your networking breaks. It can often be easier to keep folks together by keeping them grouped by an assigned table. However, you can also try assigning folks to a designated area and have them switch out throughout the evening (think speed dating).

Start an Association Fitness Challenge

Who doesn’t love a little competition? To incorporate a bit of rivalry (and engagement) between your members, consider having your members create teams to do a pedometer challenge! The winners can receive a gift of your choosing, whether that’s association focused (conference registrations, association memberships, etc) or something more personal (a full spa package, theme park tickets, airline gift card, etc). The timing of the challenge is up to you, but typically they last for four weeks.

We do suggest having some basic outlines in place as to not cause more harm than good between your members, such as:

  • Each team should be comprised of four members who will all receive pedometers from your association, as only steps that are registered on the pedometer will count toward the challenge (to keep the steps the same across the board).
  • Remind members that the challenge will need to rely on complete honesty.
  • Scores will need to be collected and provided weekly to an association staff member to keep track of the steps. This day should be universal for all teams and each participant should reset their pedometer this day of every week of the competition.

Incorporate Stretching into Your Luncheons

While this may sound trivial, who doesn’t feel better after a little stretching? And the best part is that it takes no time at all (well, five minutes max!). Try adding any of the following stretches to get your members ready to concentrate and mingle:

  • Posture: Sit up and align your neck with your spine. Lean back to get a mini backbend.
  • Neck: Rotate your neck left to right. Rotate your neck up and back.
  • Trunk (Upper Body): Fold over your chair. Rotate upper body left to right.

Still stressed about member engagement? We get it, which is why we've put together a comprehensive guide just for associations! Check out our guide, Membership Engagement for Associations, to ensure your members continue showing up time and time again!

Membership Engagement  A comprehensive guide to engaging your organization's membership Download this guide

Topics: small staff association, member engagement, member retention, Small Staff Chatter

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