Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 07 2013

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Meeting Planners

By David McMillin

2013 goalsIt’s a new year, and it’s time to start looking for new ways to make your meeting stronger. As technology continues to evolve and the value of meetings remains under the microscope, 2013 will bring new opportunities and new challenges.

Your colleagues are gearing up for another year of bringing people together, and they’ve already set some goals for themselves. Here’s a look around the industry at five New Year’s Resolutions for meeting planners.

1) Send attendees home with new energy about their work.

Education, networking, exhibits and all the specific benefits of your meeting can combine to deliver one key ingredient for success: energy.

Priscilla Noland, senior meeting planner, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, says that one of her main goals for this year is to provide a platform for attendees to inspire each other and return home feeling reinvigorated.

“In our opening plenary, we invite attendees to stand up and talk about what family medicine means to them,” Noland says. “It’s a personal and inspiring way to connect everyone and get them thinking about how their work changes patients’ lives.”

Whether your attendees are involved in healthcare, IT, law or any field, your face-to-face experience is an opportunity to remind them why they love their jobs.

2) Create a more effective communications plan with members and attendees.

From email marketing to social media to direct mail, there are plenty of ways to reach your attendees. As 2013 begins, it’s a perfect time to look at your meeting marketing strategy to determine how you can simplify your message and talk to your audience via the channels they prefer.

“We hope to be more strategic and purposeful in our messaging across the different social media outlets and to create a mobile app for our upcoming convention,” Sarah Bigorowski, director of continuing education and events, Georgia Pharmacy Association, say. “Many of our members have embraced smartphones and would love to see an app as a new way to connect during the convention.”

3) Show the real value of a meeting to all its partners.

You may be focused on proving your meeting’s value to attendees and exhibitors, but there are other key audiences that must remember just how much your meeting means.

Cindy Savery, meeting planner, Association of Clinical Research Professionals, says that she hopes to help host locations look at the whole spending dollars in 2013.

“My goal is to help CVBs and convention centers see that a room block does not equate to the ROI a conference brings to a city,” Savery says.

4) Don’t overwhelm attendees.

While you want to create a schedule with unlimited reasons to attend, remember that your participants need abreak, too.

Joyce Paschall, director of education and meeting services, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, says that she hopes to create some white space for individual assimilation of information.

“While my goal for 2013 may sound simple, we have a ten-pound meeting packed into five pounds of time,” Paschall says. “Still, I have planned a few small and inexpensive actions, including informal nature walks and yoga sessions, white boards for comments and conversation and our first-ever mobile app.”

Rather than keep your attendees racing from session to session to networking reception to bed, determine how you can help them relax while they’re on-site.

5) Create more engaging sessions.

You’ve heard the saying “death by PowerPoint” before. In 2013, you can lay it to rest with a focus on creating sessions that get attendees talking and thinking rather than starting a screen or a podium.

“I’m in charge of sessions and speakers, and in 2013, I don’t want to see any more talking heads,” Melyssa Wolf, global conference coordinator, Association of Clinical Research Professionals, says.

What’s your resolution in 2013? Email us at (insert hyperlink) to tell us how we can help you reach your goals this year.

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