Wednesday Buzz: Always Be Improving

What you do after a meeting is the key to improving next year’s event. Also: How to spark curiosity in conference attendees.

A well-fun conference requires a lot of planning and foresight, but the strategic thinking shouldn’t end when the last attendee goes home. To keep people coming back year after year, it’s important that your organization practice continuous improvement.

“One of the simplest ways to practice continuous improvement is to incorporate a process evaluation,” writes nonprofit thought leader Beth Kanter in a new blog post. “It is important to write down observations as the event or program unfolds because if you wait until the event is over, there is a chance you won’t remember it in vivid detail.”

Kanter also recommends conducting an “after action review” that includes reflecting and incorporating lessons learned. Capture notes and observations from the meeting by using a collaboration tool like Google Docs so all notes can be in the same place. Review the notes and lessons in a post-meeting debrief and incorporate feedback from participant surveys.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Speaking of improving conferences … one of the pillars of a successful event is attendee engagement, and you can’t get there without inspiring curiosity.

“Conference organizers that create a culture of curiosity gain both a short and long term competitive edge,” writes Jeff Hurt in recent Velvet Chainsaw blog post. “Those that exhibit curiosity tend to be more creative, more successful, and more fulfilled, say researchers. Cultivating a culture of curiosity is good for business and it’s good for your conference too.”

To cultivate curiosity among your participants, start with modeling it. “The assumptions we use to plan our conferences often limit fresh perspectives,” he says. “We can fall out of touch with the deeper questions and lose the willingness to ponder.”

Other Links of Note

When it comes to communications, who should make the decisions? Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog shares a few considerations.

Small organizations can have a big impact. The GuideStar blog serves up tips for better performance.

While Facebook still reigns supreme, Recode reports that users are spending nearly the same amount of time on Instagram.

(DNY59/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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