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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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Your 2015 Conference Survival Guide

Posted by Callie Walker


Ready or not, conference season is here! But don’t panic. No matter how big the conference you’re attending is, we’ve got a guide to help you get through. Behold, your 2015 conference survival guide: 

Before the conference: 

  • Create a plan of attackMost conferences will post the final schedule a month or two in advance. Take a good look at it and determine what sessions you’d like to attend. 
  • Join LinkedIn groupsMany conferences have LinkedIn groups for pre-conference communications and discussions. Join these and get to know other attendees before heading out. 
  • Pack plenty of business cardsConferences are all about networking, so make sure you have enough business cards to go around. 

At the conference:

  • Pay attention to TwitterNow you don’t have to tweet (although active participation is always better!), but you should at least follow other attendees on Twitter and keep up with the conference hashtag. 
  • Embrace the mobile appThis all depends on if the conference you’re attending has a mobile app, but if they do, we highly recommend using it. Conference apps are great for navigating, scheduling, and socializing with others.
  • Have funAbove all, have fun! You paid a lot to attend this conference (and likely traveled a long way too), so relax and have a little fun!

After the conference:

  • Connect with other attendees on social mediaDon’t let all that networking you did go to waste. Connect with other attendees on social media and stay in touch with them over time. 
  • Type up your notesYou probably spent a lot of time taking notes, so don’t let them get lost in the post-conference shuffle. Type them up and save them in a place you’ll be able to access later. 
  • Apply what you've learnedThis is where the real value of a conference comes into play. Sit down with your coworkers after the event and discuss which tactics your association can adopt over time.

Planning a conference or event of your own? Check our free event planning guide below! 

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Topics: association leadership, small staff association, Small Staff Chatter

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