Monday Buzz: Innovate Conferences With “Meeting Mindshifts”

Improve your association events by adopting new ways of thinking. Plus: Learn how to be convincing when facts fail.

Old habits die hard but, with a fluid market and the likelihood of innovations on the horizon, it can be dangerous for associations to become too set in their ways.

While the redesign of membership benefits is receiving plenty of attention from associations, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Jeff Hurt warns that stagnation in conference organization also should be addressed.

“We have to move beyond gathering and reviewing our surface stats from the past,” Hurt writes on the firm’s Midcourse Corrections blog. “We have to let go of the attitude that the old way is better.”

In order to start battling this problem, associations need only change their mindsets, according to Hurt.

These “mindshifts” encourage organizers to move outside of their comfort zones and go beyond traditional conference culture for more innovative solutions, such as involving attendees in new conference practices.

“We need to understand, design for, and invite those around us into a collaborative conversation in meaningful and relevant ways,” Hurt writes. “We must focus on context, co-creation, and application versus nostalgia and the past.”

Changing the mission of a conference is another key “mindshift,” as the attendee audience’s motivation also will have changed.

Hurt urges associations to recognize that following a style blindly, while easier than creating a new one, can cause more harm than good.

“While templates may provide a rapid course of action,” he says, “they frequently lead to flawed plans that don’t identify the actual issues and opportunities that should be addressed.”

Conference planning is a difficult endeavor, and, while following a guideline can be easier, it’s crucial to not lose sight of why your association holds its conferences in the first place: the members.

“Conference leaders that love what is good, including their context, their mission, and the next generation to suggest just a few, move the conference in the right direction,” Hurt adds.

Tweet of the Day

This week, TechCrunch is hosting its Disrupt New York conference, featuring some of the latest and greatest minds and startups in the technology field. One way the three-day event is standing out? By using the news-reader Flipboard. The AOL-owned news outlet is highlighting live coverage of the event in a magazine on the Flipboard platform, which raises the question—wait, don’t they already have a distribution platform?

As it turns out, though, TechCrunch Director of Audience Development Travis Bernard thinks the second outlet is a great way to reach the event’s audience.

“Disrupt is one of the most influential technology and media conferences in the world, and my main goal with the Flipboard Magazine is to give readers a quick look into the magic that happens at our conference,” Bernard told Inside Flipboard this week. “Flipboard is also such a great way to present content, and I like offering our readers different ways to consume our coverage that’s slightly different than what you get on our website.”

Other Good Reads

Where to turn when facts fail? FeverBee’s Richard Millington explains the art of persuasion through storytelling.

Can’t find the right time to ask for a raise? Over at Fast Company, negotiation specialist Ted Leonhardt shares advice on the best times to ask your boss for more money.

Know your members through their selfies. The New York Times‘ Courtney Rubin uncovers how companies are using selfies to measure consumer trends.


Eli Zimmerman

By Eli Zimmerman

Eli is studying Journalism at the University of Maryland. When not studying, he likes to relax with a nice book or a couple rounds at the local boxing gym. MORE

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