Lunchtime Links: Save Your Conferences From Parody

All the problems everyone has run into while attending conferences, in one simple list. Plus: some new ideas on how you can avoid being caught up in those familiar conference traps.

BuzzFeed offers a funny take on the problems that typically plague conferences, and two remedies emerge that you can to apply to your own events, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

GIFs speak the truth: We’ve all been there—sitting in an uncomfortable chair listening to a speaker drone on about the obvious while struggling to remember the names of all of the people we just met while we were grabbing coffee. Not every conference experience is perfect, and Patrick Smith of BuzzFeed rings in the beginning of conference season with a keen listicle. Smith’s list might hit a little close to home, especially for those fond of reiterating every comment a speaker makes on Twitter with a #million #hashtags. But it’s a handy guide of conference pitfalls to avoid … especially that fifth cup of coffee.

Putting more life into conferences: Enough with the griping—how can you avoid echoing that BuzzFeed list at your events? A little bit of gamification, if properly implemented, may do the trick. Midcourse Corrections’ Donna Kastner takes an interesting look into how to use gamification to engage attendees and collect feedback. Her suggested system revolves around +1 votes, in which attendees share tips, kudos, and more via social media platforms. Organizers can monitor those streams with a number of tools and then reward those who have offered the most widely praised pieces of wisdom. And all the conversations and feedback should be given prominent placement. “Consider highlighting best tips on slide shows as attendees enter session rooms. Make sure your +1 Leaderboard is highly visible throughout the conference to inspire others to join in on the fun,” Kastner advises.

Be my (app) valentine: Appropriately timed on this holiday for sweethearts, Cvent has a post on Event Manager Blog reminding us of two modern-day star-crossed lovers: events and mobile apps. “In today’s frenetic, smartphone-saturated environment, love means never having to make your attendees lug around an unwieldy paper program full of pertinent event information,” it states. An event-specific app provides attendees with an easily accessed source of scheduling and logistical information, and it also can help to foster connections and encourage engagement. After all, as that BuzzFeed list warns, many people spend their conference time glued to their phones or tablets. “The only way to redirect their attention back to your event is to occupy their screens with a mobile app of your own,” Cvent says.

How else can the standard conference format be shaken up? Share you ideas in the comments below.


Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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