Meetings

Is It Time for a Meeting Upgrade?

By / Sep 19, 2019 (olaser/E+/Getty Images Plus)

It can be a struggle to determine whether now is the right time to try something new at your meeting, but a few factors could make the case for yes more compelling.

Today is a big day for Apple and its fans: After the company announced the iPhone 11 during its Special Event on September 10, it’s officially available.

And the whole thing has me thinking: It is time for an upgrade?

Before you ask, no, I’m not one of those serial upgraders who must have every iteration of the iPhone. I’m actually using the 6s, thank you very much.

But there have been a few signs in the past few months that are pushing me toward an upgrade. Among them is reduced battery life and phone calls that just seem to drop off out of nowhere. And, if I’m being completely honest, I just want a better camera and a faster phone.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about whether to take to plunge and what model to get. An article on Mashable had the most compelling argument so far: “The iPhone 6s will inevitably be phased out of software compatibility and its owners won’t be left with much of a choice.”

As much as my wallet may not like it, it appears the writing is on the wall, and it is upgrade time.

But the whole debate of whether to upgrade isn’t limited to your personal tech devices. It’s something that association execs struggle with too. And for meeting pros, that often involves determining whether a conference or event needs a redesign or reinvention. Here are a few reasons why a conference upgrade could make sense:

Increased competition. Association meetings are increasingly challenged by for-profit competitors, who often have a much larger budget to create events that deliver on attendee expectations. If you see this happening in your industry, now is the time to consider what you can do to keep attendees from choosing a competitor’s conference over yours. Part of that strategy may be looking at what aspects of their meeting you can scale for your events.

Things just feel stale. Work and life routines are inevitable, but when they start feeling stale, it’s time to shake things up. Same goes for your events. Although your attendees may not be directly telling you, “Hey, this meeting has been the same forever. Please try something new,” there could be signs that’s exactly what they’re thinking. For example, if you’re seeing attendance decline among your long-time attendees, it may mean that they no longer feel they are getting anything new from your event. Ask them what you need to do to get them back. And if you’re also seeing your exhibitor and sponsor numbers dwindling, reach out and get their ideas on what opportunities get them excited about having a presence at your conference again.

A lack of uniqueness. What makes your event different from every other event in your industry? If you need to pause to answer that question, you may be in trouble. Because if you have difficulty differentiating your event from all the rest, it means attendees and prospects will too. You must be able to separate yourself from the competition.

What factors have you used to determine that your meeting was in need of an upgrade? Please tell us about them in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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