Meetings

Spring Cleanup for Meeting and Event Pros

By / Mar 31, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Spring is often known as a time for cleanup and renewal. Here are three things meeting professionals can do to refresh their event tactics.

While it’s officially been spring for 11 days now, it didn’t really hit me until this week when I was reminded that Opening Day for Major League Baseball is only days away and when I popped my first dose of allergy meds. (Hello, pollen.)

For many, spring is also a time for renewal and cleanup—a time to shake off the winter and plant seeds that will grow or bloom into something new and successful. With that in mind, here are some ideas for refreshing your meeting and event tactics.

Try out something new on social media. During last week’s Global Pet Expo, the American Pet Products Association—which hosts the tradeshow along with the Pet Industry Distributors Association—decided to add Facebook Live to the show’s social media plan. The goal was to reach both attendees and nonattendees.

“We saw just on our personal feeds how news stations or newspapers are using Facebook Live to get information out, and we thought it’s a no-brainer for us. There’s so much cool stuff going on at the show, so watching a few minutes on Facebook Live made a lot of sense,” Andy Darmohraj, APPA’s executive vice president and COO, told BizBash.

Organizers worked with their PR agency to do 10-minute Facebook Live broadcasts a few times during each of the show’s three days. Broadcasts included a tradeshow tour and interviews with featured speakers. Darmohraj told Biz Bash that they were careful as to what they selected to stream and only chose items that were newsworthy and interesting. Staff also monitored for comments in real time, so they could respond as needed.

Elevate the conference experience for attendees. Keeping in mind that people learn better in a team environment where there’s lots of networking and discussion, rather than lectures and PowerPoints, last year the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics introduced a new conference experience called Innov8.

According to Innov8’s website, the multiday event was “designed to support mathematics teachers and teams in identifying, analyzing, and planning for instruction and intervention around a self-identified problem of practice.”

Participants were encouraged to attend as a team, as it was a “working conference” where they would create a plan to address a challenge they were currently facing in their school or district. The goal was to have attendees head back with their plan and a commitment to implement the tools and techniques they learned.

In addition, the conference had an Innovation Lounge, which included five areas (Innov8 Bar, Book Nook, Narrate, Innov8 Hangout, and TNT) for participants to learn and collaborate with experts and other conference-goers facing similar problems.

[Shameless ASAE plug: If you’re in the meetings industry and looking for an experience along the same lines as Innov8, consider registering for ASAE’s newest event, Xperience Design Project. XDP, taking place in May, will bring together association professionals and industry partners to find solutions to shared challenges in the industry using co-creation and elements of design thinking.]

Dig into your post-conference evaluations. Good news is that your spring cleaning tactics don’t all need to be along the lines of “out with the old, in with the new.” Here’s one that may be a little simpler to do than the previous two.

Make some time in the next few weeks to sift through evaluations from your previous conferences and events. Read through attendee and speaker comments and see if you can find patterns or themes to pull out. Then, use those to make adjustments. You may even find a few easy fixes in the comments that you can implement almost immediately.

When it comes to your meetings and events, what else is due for decluttering or could use a good refresh? Please share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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