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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's in the Way of Your Association's Storytelling?

Posted by Christina R. Green


Most people who know the difference between a good speaker and one who you think about the entire conference, know that it often has to do with the story he tells. When someone begins a story, when you realize you’re not about to hear the same old drivel, you can feel yourself leaning in, if not physically, cognitively.

You don’t need a vivid imagination to know how stories draw an audience and how that could be applied to your association.

So what’s stopping you?

Reasons Associations Aren't Telling Their Stories


You Don't Think You Have Time

You can tell a story in the same amount of time it takes you to list the reasons why you’re qualified to give the presentation you’re giving or present the benefits of joining your association. One the audience will remember, one they’ll use as background noise while they check Facebook.

You Don't Know How (Or Don't Think You Do)

We’re hardwired to tell stories. It’s what we did back before we watched the Walking Dead or Downtown Abbey. Not sure where to begin? Try your members.

You Think It's the Latest Marketing Gimmick

You’re right. It’s a fad. A fad that’s been happening around campfires since fire was invented. Ride it out. Should only be another couple of millennia or so until all good stories are downloaded directly into our brains thus negating the need to tell them.

You Don't Need More Members

Sometimes you’re operating at capacity and there’s simply no more room for new members. That’s why your membership chair sits idly by while counting snowflakes outside the window.

You're Tired of the Members You Have

Renew or not. Whatever.

Storytelling won’t cost you anything, including time. It’s simply a change in how you communicate. You are already writing that email and the web copy, giving the presentation, and welcoming new members. These things are occurring whether you choose to tell your association’s story or not.

But when you tell a story, you engage your audience’s hearts and minds. They listen because they want to know how it will end or because they see themselves in the scenario you’ve painted.

Storytelling appeals to the emotions and emotions are what drive our membership purchases. Most of your members aren’t going to create a t-chart of pros versus cons in joining. They’re ultimately going to write that check because of how you make them feel. No one ever felt moved by a features and benefits list.

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Topics: association leadership, member engagement, Association Views

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