Lunchtime Links: Want Better Events? Push Your Speakers To Improve

One event pro's take on improving the educational experience for attendees puts the onus on the speakers. Also: Lessons in advertising from Super Bowl commercials.

One event pro’s take on improving the educational experience for attendees puts the onus on the speakers. Also: Lessons in advertising from Super Bowl commercials.

You can only do so much window dressing to make your event better for your attendees.

Sure, the design and the marketing don’t hurt, but if your speakers are boring, what’s it for, anyway?

One conference learning expert’s take in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Don’t lose sight of the goal: Velvet Chainsaw’s Jeff Hurt is a definite stickler for educational value at conferences, and his latest Midcourse Corrections post on the topic underlines the point in boldface and italics: We cannot lose sight of the return on attendees’ educational investment. “People do not return to a conference because registration was efficient or the marketing was interesting,” he says. “They decide to return based on their experience. And their primary experience revolves around education and networking. Sure logistics play into that experience but it’s now what we sell.” Hurt’s pitch: We need to do more to encourage our speakers to improve, and the way that they’ll improve is by focusing on the attendees. If you feel like getting motivated to make your events better, read Jeff’s post. You’ll be glad you did.

Feel better about your meager ad budget: If you’re a small association, you probably dream of having millions of dollars to market yourself to homes around the country—say, in a TV commercial during the Super Bowl. But is it really worth it? According to Business Insider, not necessarily. A study from the research firm Communicus finds that only 20 percent of Super Bowl ads actually connect with consumers— an 80 percent failure rate. But that’s not the full story: Some ads did really well during last year’s event, including spots by Budweiser and Best Buy, but fan-favorite ads from last year, including Tide’s “Miracle Stain” spot, shown above, failed to lead to actual sales. Two lessons here: Clever doesn’t necessarily mean much when it comes to brand awareness, and you don’t need to spend $4 million on a Super Bowl commercial.

Eye on the clock: Trying to better organize your time? (It’s understandable; there’s only so much of it.) Be sure to get a look at some of the apps in this Fast Company roundup that can help you figure out how to set aside time for tasks (the iOS app TIME Planner) and improve that work-life balance (Eternity Time Log, another iOS app). But it doesn’t necessarily have to be an app that does the trick: Sometimes a quick life-hack, like this one—subtracting a task from your to-do list—can make you feel better.

What’s your best time-management trick? Tell us about it in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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