Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 10 2014

A Free Guide To Strengthening Your Attendee Community

By David McMillin

The world may feel like it’s driven by emails, status updates and mobile screens, but a new white paper from FreemanXP argues that this all-digital, all-the-time environment is making your face-to-face meeting more important than it’s ever been before.

“In spite of our digital, commoditized lifestyle, the importance of community is becoming more prevalent as individuals see the value of creating together, learning together and sharing together,” the paper declares.

Want to figure out how to create a stronger community at your next meeting? Here’s a preview of some of the advice from the experts at FreemanXP.

Make Them More Than Attendees

The traditional idea of “attending” a conference involves showing up, sitting back and absorbing new knowledge. While people do still register to learn from the experts, it’s important to make everyone feel like they are responsible for the success of the program.

“The more the community is involved in developing content, the more personally invested individuals become,” the paper states.

Rather than leaving your educational sessions up to a small group within your organization, consider inviting your audience to submit what’s on their minds. Find out what trends are impacting their work environments and what problems they’re looking to solve. Extend the call for session proposals to the entire crowd to get a real sense of what matters to your audience.

SEE ALSO: Harness The Power Of Crowdsourced Video At Your Events

Give Them Some Homework

While the majority of your audience may already have busy schedules, think about giving them a few to-do items before they arrive on-site. The flipped classroom model relies on digesting information prior to joining a face-to-face discussion with like-minded students, and it’s working in many education systems around the country. Continuing adult education can take a cue from these successes to help their attendees take more home from sessions.

Rather than focusing on instructing and informing, this model creates a climate ripe for interacting and exchanging ideas.

“Allowing your audience to consume content early means they aren’t hearing it for the first time at the event, so they are ready to act on it,” the experts at FreemanXP write. “They can ask questions and put the learning in action.”

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Apply Salman Kahn’s Approach To Your Next Education Program

Laugh, Cry, Feel

Your attendees may be coming to earn education credits, but they want to do more than satisfy some requirements. They want to connect on a deeper level.

FreemanXP believes getting to that deeper level relies on thinking about your brand’s bigger purpose to establish an emotional connection. For example, a medical meeting is not a collection of MDs, RNs and other healthcare experts; it’s a collection of people who care for patients and save lives. A convention that unites IT employees is not simply a collection of computer geniuses; it’s a three-day event that will change the future of technology.

Interested in learning more about creating new opportunities within your community? Click here for a free download of “Unleashing the Power of Community” from FreemanXP.

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