Friday Buzz: Conference Disaster Warning Signals

Don't get caught off-guard by a sudden drop in attendance or sponsorships at your annual meeting. Also: A leading association exec breaks down strategies for managing your time.

There’s a point where you can tell the foundation of your event is breaking down—say, when repeat attendance drops below 50 percent, or sponsorship renewal drops below 75 percent.

But it’s always better to know what’s coming before it’s too late to fix the problem. That’s why Donna Kastner’s latest post on the Velvet Chainsaw Consulting blog is worth a read.

“Just as geographic fault lines are the product of years of disruptions below the surface, there are observable precursors to measure shatterpoints,” she writes. “Detection of these early warning signs requires observation and understanding of conference attendee participation and behavior patterns.”

Kastner breaks down six different behavioral warning signs, and they’re all things that can be caught before an event (like a drop in early-bird signups, or an increase in temporary email addresses) or during an event (like a drop in attendance at individual sessions, or a quieter expo floor).

If you know the warning signs, you can correct course before the drop-offs hit.

Take it to the Limit

If there’s one thing that truckers need to know how to do, it’s manage their time. Which is why Bill Graves, the president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, is just the guy to talk to about time management.

In the latest episode of CEO Update‘s Association Newsmakers interview series, Graves, a former Kansas governor who grew up in a trucking family, tells David Rehr, a professor at George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, his secrets for effective time management.

“I understand that I’ve signed up for a really hard, demanding job,” Graves says, “and therefore you have to just simply force yourself to stay on top of all the issues that confront you, when they confront you.”

Be sure to watch the whole clip above to hear Graves’ thoughts on delegation and other time-management necessities.

Other Links of Note

Your online community needs marketing, too: Socious‘ Katie Bapple notes the value of getting your community’s brand out there.

Bite-size leadership advice:‘s John Brandon did us all a favor and gathered up 20 brief tips about leadership from 20 veteran leaders who know what they’re talking about.

Keep digging and you’ll find the gems: SocialFish shares an awesome infographic on Google searching techniques.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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