Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 20 2013

Are Your Audience’s Needs Changing?

By Dawn McEvoy, Director, Education

A question we hear often is “how do I continue to stay relevant with my attendees?” 

According to John Folks with Minding Your Business, it’s critical to begin with understanding the needs of your audiences, and not just the perception of their needs. An attendee needs analysis provides participants with smart practices for this important first step as you begin planning for your next meeting. From objectively reviewing past meeting surveys, to focus groups with key target markets and one-on-one interviews with stakeholders, to an online survey of diverse audiences, there should be a systematic approach to performing a needs analysis for your meeting. 

And what about the design of your meeting experience? Jeff Tobe, from Coloring Outside the Lines, believes you need to stop looking out your rear view mirror to see how things have changed and look out your windshield to see what is coming down the road. Yes, that takes creativity and a new perspective to shatter the stereotype of the experience attendees expect to have. Velvet Chainsaw’s Donna Kastner is a proponent of conference designs that spark movement, sharing and creative thinking. Add peer-to-peer collaboration to the mix and now you’ve got a new recipe for your meeting design architecture.  

Orchestrated networking is another goal we all share to stay relevant. Sarah Michel refers to it as Connexity – the building of watering holes where your attendees can come make connections and build community. The good news is this can happen with budget-friendly ideas and solutions you can integrate throughout your meeting design. 
And lastly for those of us with trade shows, you know that new ideas are out there, but no one is putting a how-to-reinvent-kit on the internet. Enter Experient’s Terrance Donnelly – armed with a gallery of floor plans, approaches and best practices – to demonstrate what others are doing and how your show could repurpose some of his big ideas. 

Intrigued? Wish you could get all of these experts’ knowledge in one place for your own personal meeting reinvention roadmap? Your wish has come true. PCMA’s June Education Conference features all of these speakers. Learn more about the conference and our other leaders of reinvention here.

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