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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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What Association Millennials Want: Meetings Edition

Posted by Krissy Conant


Remember how we mentioned that more and more Millennials will be entering the workforce? Well, it’s now estimated that by 2020 at least half of the adult workforce will be Millennials. That means it’s REALLY time for you to start adapting tasks in your association or risk being left in the dust of a new generation.

Let’s start with something simple: your association's meetings! Take a look at these four ways that you can immediately start making your meetings more appealing to the Millennial crowd.

1. Incorporate Virtual Meetings 

Why: Millennials are always looking for the best way to free up some time in their day. So if you’re able to save them from having to travel and adjust their regular schedule to be more involved in your meetings, that sounds like a win-win to us. This initiative will also provide you the ability to record your meetings for others to watch later (retrograde member engagement anyone?). And remember: we aren’t suggesting EVERY meeting be virtual, but it definitely adds an appeal to switch it up!

How: Take a look at our blog post that covers how to regularly host virtual meetings with your members!

2. Practice Follow Through

Why: Think about this from a Millennial perspective: If they are going to dedicate time to be invested in your meeting, then they care enough to want to see some actionable results. We believe it comes down a combination of Millennials wanting to take your association’s mission personally, making sure they are using their limited time “with purpose,” and finally that you are taking their feedback seriously.

How: We recommend to start by keeping track of your meeting’s minutes so that you can circle up with your staff to cover how you can start incorporating (or at least brainstorm) some updates on your current initiatives. From there, take these updates and include them in your next newsletter to let your members know you’re listening.

3. Encourage Questions

Why: One of the key characteristics of Millennials is that they like to feel heard. So what better than to provide them a safe space to speak their mind on your agenda with a Q&A. While most association meetings usually do include a Q&A already, some leaders often glaze over it as an unnecessary add-on.

How: First things first, make sure to leave at least ten minutes (if not longer) for questions. Next, make sure to remind your attendees at the beginning of the meeting to write down any lingering thoughts or questions to cover during your Q&A. Finally, urge your attendees to email any questions to the host if they feel uncomfortable with speaking in public or using a chat feature.

4. Make it Digestible

Why: Millennials are known for having a lot on their mind, so it’s in your favor to try and keep your meetings on the short and sweet side. This will provide an environment for your Millennial crowd to really focus in on the agenda as opposed to being concerned with the timeframe allotment of the meeting.

How: Ideally, you should try to keep your meetings under 60 minutes. To do this, you’ll need to have a well defined agenda going into your meeting so that it’s easier for you to keep on topic and avoid unnecessary tangents.

While the young professional mindset may change with each generation, there are a few truths that will remain constant: They'll need guidance with landing a job, they'll want to grow their network, and gaining more industry experience will be of paramount importance.

If you’re looking to get more Millennials to join your association, check out our guide Recruiting Young Pros for the Long-Haul today!

Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul  A guide for associations and chambers Download this guide

Topics: member engagement, member retention, Small Staff Chatter

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Noticing that your youngest members aren't renewing?  Check out our guide, Recruiting Young Professionals for the Long-Haul! Download Now!

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