Meetings

Post-Conference Glow: Use It to Extend the Life of Your Events

By / May 26, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

You want attendees to leave your events feeling energized and ready to put what they learned to use. Consider these ideas for harnessing their energy to engage them in the months after.

You’ve probably been here before: You get away from the office for a few days to attend a conference for your own professional development, and the whole experience is fantastic—the learning, the networking, even the food and beverage. You leave feeling amped up and energized. You can’t wait to get back to the office, share what you learned with your colleagues, andput some of those ideas into action.

It’s that post-conference glow, and it feels great!

How do you engage your participants and your audience all year long? You need to think beyond the actual event.

As a meeting planner and designer, that’s exactly the feeling you want your attendees to have. And you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to extend that conference afterglow for as long as possible.

After all, as Reggie Aggarwal, CEO of Cvent, reminded co-creators at ASAE’s inaugural Xperience Design Project event this week: “It’s not just a two-day effort, or a three-day effort, or however long your conference or event is,” he said. “It’s a yearlong effort. How do you engage your participants and your audience all year long? You need to think beyond the actual event.”

Aggarwal shared how technology could make this task easier. For instance, you can curate the best content from the event. If you had 50 breakout sessions, he suggested you pick the best five or six—based on feedback from attendees.

“Then you take that curated content, and you actually send it out to people,” Aggarwal said. “It gets them re-engaged and keeps your event top of mind, giving your event a much longer life.”

But a curated content package is only one way to extend your attendees’ post-conference glow.

You could go the route of the Public Library Association. Following its 2016 conference, it offered the PLA 2016 Rewind: Post-Conference Webinar Series. PLA took three of the top sessions from the conference and transformed them into live, one-hour webinars. One webinar was broadcast each month in the three months following the event.

A simpler idea is to remind attendees of the great time they had onsite by pushing out photos or videos of your conference via your website or the various social channels your association is active on.

For example, the Australia-based Self Managed Super Fund Association shared this conference highlight video back in February. It’s only three minutes long, but it really gives you a sense of what happened onsite.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Society of Association Executives asks it National Conference attendees to share their videos and photos with the association. CSAE then incorporates them into the post-conference content it develops.

Finally, you may want to help your attendees extend that glow by helping to facilitate post-conference connections. While associations typically use matchmaking technology to put attendees together before or during an event, consider how you can pair attendees up in the weeks after a conference so that they can continue their conversations and come up with solutions to the problems they are facing. Plus, it could help keep your attendees accountable for put their onsite learning to use.

Another perk of all of these efforts: They serve as prime marketing tools for recruiting new attendees to your next conference.

What does your association offer to help conference attendees keep their afterglow? Let us know in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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