Social Media Roundup: Plan Your Event Like a Family Gathering

The parallels that family gatherings have with association event planning. Plus: Pick an event speaker that, well, speaks to you.

Family get-togethers have some parallels with association event planning. Plus: Pick an event speaker who, well, speaks to you.

Soak in the festive cheer of family time come holiday season. And while there’s always a crazy story (or 10) to share, there’s also a lesson to transfer to your organization. Here’s how planning a family reunion is akin to pulling off a successful event.

That, and more, in today’s Social Media Roundup:

Merry Reminders

Turkey for 10: In the weeks before holiday season’s flurry of family reunions, Donna Kastner of Midcourse Corrections says her clan is already checking in. There are weather alerts to send, menus to map out, and big plans to formulate. Does this process sound familiar? Getting the family together is no different from association event planning, Kastner writes. Everyone lends a hand before the event, ensuring that people don’t get lost. Now apply that to your conference: How do you help attendees prepare for the event, and are your volunteers in on the action? Likewise, impromptu events (in Kastner’s case, a dance party) are common at family gatherings. Let them happen, she says. They’re fun for a family—and memorable for attendees. “Are you creating an environment rich in stories and shared experiences? Are there storytelling prompts and open spaces (at the venue and on the agenda) where these stories can unfold and multiply?” she asks. Read Kastner’s post for more examples—including what comes after the holidays are over. (ht @CSAEBC)

Voice Over

Speaker search:  According to conference organizer Kelvin Newman, your event’s success depends largely on your choice of the right speaker. (Pressure? Nope—you’ve got this!) “Gone are the days where templated decks of bullet points [were] enough. I want to find speakers who take the time to present their ideas in a visually creative way,” he writes. Like any challenge, you start from the ground up. Newman begins his speaker search by browsing through Slideshare, YouTube, Google, and blogs, looking for keywords that link to the theme of the event. That enables him to gauge popular topics while finding engaging ways speakers can present their material. Newman then filters through other community platforms, including LinkedIn groups, Quora threads, and FollowerWonk, to find industry leaders who interact effectively with their audience. Still stuck? Try asking a conference attendee. “[W]ho has attended your event every year without fail? They may be too shy to put themselves forward but clearly love your event and would be flattered to be approached,” Newman says. (ht @bryanwempen)

How have you found your best speakers? Tell us in the comments.

Emma Beck

By Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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