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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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When a Member Just Isn’t Professional

Posted by Sarah Hill

If you read People Magazine, you know that often the most famous people have the worst behavior. Could you apply that truth to one of your members? And what do you do when it happens to you?

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Here are a few ideas.

  • Let it go

Maybe he or she just has a habit that’s personally annoying to you. Read the room and see if that members is being received with criticism. If not, drop it!

  • Find a position better suited to that member

An active member is nothing to sneeze at, so keep him or her engaged and helpful but perhaps in a position that deals a little less with the public and potential members and more with his or her friends inside the association.

  • Talk about it

Often a passive way of dealing with things is best, but sometimes you need to be direct. Just tell him or her what you’re thinking, but delicately. Remember that constructive criticism is one thing, but hurt feelings can sour a relationship possibly forever so be careful about what you say.

Of course a lot of this comes on a case by case basis, too. If your member in question is aggressive, a bully, disruptive or otherwise inappropriate for your group or your association's mission, it may be time for him or her to step down from membership. That, of course, is a VERY extreme case.

Finally, take a good long look at what you consider “professional” and your association’s current desires and needs. This is important: NOT your charter, not your mission statement, your association’s CURRENT desires and needs. Consider for a moment if perhaps what you may consider unprofessional or rude is just the way the industry is headed. Jeans at work, for example, used to be appalling but is now the norm in many workplaces.

That kind of introspection is tough, especially because it turns the blame back on you. However if the case can be solved with just a little education and open mindedness on your part that’s ultimately a simple fix. Plus it’ll help you be a little “hipper” as well!

For more ways to engage with your members, download our free guide to member engagement below. It’s 100% free, and just takes a click, so what are you waiting for?

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Topics: member engagement, member retention, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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