Meetings

Daily Buzz: A New Way to Think About Annual Meetings

By / Sep 11, 2019 (gustavofrazao/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Feeling stuck on how to switch up this year’s conference? Try this way of thinking. Also: how to strengthen communication as a remote employee.

Meeting planners are always looking for ways to provide new experiences at annual meetings, but creative thinking about such a well-established event can be challenging.

One solve: Lisa Block, writing on Velvet Chainsaw, says a five-step framework for brainstorming that her team developed helps them continually revamp and reinvent annual conferences:

  1. Identify an attendee experience to improve.
  2. Outline the type of emotional connection you want guests to feel during the experience.
  3. Research how other meetings have handled a similar experience. What went well, and what didn’t?
  4. Pinpoint potential obstacles that could hinder successful implementation.
  5. Strategize tactics that will bring the experience to life.

“This isn’t about tweaking schedules, adjusting formats, or adding activations at your event,” Block says. “The framework puts the participant at the center and includes principles of design collaboration to help your team innovate and strive for continuous improvement.”

Work From Home? Communicate Like a Champ

Working remotely can be an isolating experience. Because you miss out on in-person interactions, clear communication becomes more important than ever.

“Nonverbal cues are an extremely crucial part of communication, yet remote employees don’t have the luxury of exhibiting body language. And since every interaction is verbal, you need to be judicious about the words you select,” says Michael Adorno on Fast Company. “This means being assertive. Yes, it may seem cold and blunt, or even perhaps entirely out of character. But you need to do this to help your onsite colleagues understand your needs, wants, and goals, so you can be an efficient and contributing member of the team.”

Also: Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate.

“Overcommunicating might seem unnatural,” he says. “But if you don’t overcommunicate as a remote employee, you can easily get lost in the shuffle of typical workflow.”

Other Links of Note

Not every attendee has the same needs. Nonprofit thought leader Beth Kanter shares how to make accommodations for guests who are blind, have mobility issues, or have other disabilities.

Hosting an upcoming tradeshow? Trade Show News Network offers show-floor design tips.

Ensuring your email list is up to date can improve open rates, says Nonprofit Marketing Guide, among other tips.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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