5 Ways to Enhance the Attendee Experience: Show Them That You Care
May 16, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

positive

Have you ever attended a 2 or 3 day educational conference, gotten home, and said to yourself, "Was that really worth the 2 to 4 days out of the office?" I have completed that assessment and to be honest, the last 3 educational conferences I attended my answer was a resounding — maybe. 

Wouldn't it be great however, if you felt that a conference was developed just for you? With your interests and needs in mind? I know that is unrealistic, but it isn't unreasonable to expect that some of your needs are going to be met through some of the educational content. So…what is the difference between a great conference and a medicore one?

Here are 5 ideas that might astound you, don't cost an arm and a leg, and might bring your attendee back year after year. 

Tip #1: Make certain everyone on your conference services team has a positive, can do attitude.

When I arrive at an educational meeting and check-in, I expect to be received by smiling, helpful registration staff. If I have a question or a need, I expect them to address it. Or get back to me "within a reasonable period of time". 

If I experience negative or apathetic attitudes right from the get go, it affects my conference experience. The latest research on this astounding: Guests and attendees make a judgement about a venue, meeting, or city, based on the first 15 minutes they are there. Make your first 15 minutes count. 

Tip #2: Collaborate on meeting content with unlike minded people.

When developing the content for your association meeting or conference, get as many different people from dramatically different walks of life to make your meeting great. Roger von Oech's book, "A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You can be More Creative", has many examples of how dissonance among team members led to break through solutions. So, it goes for your events, too. 

Tip #3: Close your mouth. 

Event planners (myself included) think we know everything about meeting logistics and want to tell everyone how many meetings we have planned and how smart we are. Shut up and sit down. Let the timid attendee or volunteer lead the discussion. The more restraint we show, the better results we will see because it will no longer be our event but it will shift to the attendee's event. 

Tip #4: Show, don't tell. 

Using visuals will really help drive the message and enhance the attendee experience, especially with product launching events. Rent iPads and run video that demonstrates the product or concept. Have computer kiosks on the trade show floor to show photographs, video, or even run online chat sessions with customer service people back at the home office. 

Tip #5: Have a call to action. 

At the end of each conference, meeting, or event, the attendee should feel that they need to DO something. It could be as simple as buying the new product offering, signing up for more education, or writing their congressman. Action makes attendees interested. 

AV Event Solutions, provides meeting and event planners with iPads, kiosk rentals, and much, much more! Give them a call today at 888.249.4903 to learn more about their offerings!

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