Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 26 2014

This Is The Piece Of Your Meeting That Deserves The Most Attention

By Katie Yandell

There are so many pieces of a meeting that can keep planners up at night. The location, the dates, the hotel block…the list goes on. However, when I attended International Confex 2014 in London in mid-March, I realized that there is one element that matters above all else: content.

“Content always drives the attendance at your congress,” Alessandro Cortese, CEO, European Society of Radiotherapy & Oncology, said in a session hosted by PCMA.

Sure, attendees want to network and enjoy what the host city has to offer, but Cortese believes that curating a strong educational program is the ultimate ingredient that makes or breaks attendance numbers.

SEE ALSO: Update Your Own Education With PCMA’s OnDemand Medical Meetings Education

However, just providing “cutting-edge” content may not be enough. The other important piece of the puzzle? Attendees shouldn't be able to find it anywhere else.

Michel Ballieu, CEO, European Cancer Organisation, highlighted that free online content is posing a big challenge for medical meeting planners. As doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals look for free or low-cost virtual education, medical meeting planners will need to place an even greater emphasis on curating high-quality content for their face-to-face experiences. The content must be compelling enough to make prospective attendees stop searching for complimentary learning material online and actually pay to register.

SEE ALSO: How Online Education Is Changing The Way We Meet

Stepping Outside The Medical Landscape

While the session focused on the changing landscape of medical meetings, the importance of content certainly applies to the entire meetings industry. No matter what type of attendees make up your audience, they have plenty of opportunities to find ways to learn without paying to travel.

As you plan your next program, identity the lessons and sessions that attendees can only find at your face-to-face meeting. Can you offer a more interactive approach that will inspire more discussion among attendees? What can you do to make sure your educational offerings are different than your competition? Which late-breaking trends and issues need to be part of the program to ensure its relevancy? They’re big questions, but answering them can create big reasons for your audience to attend.

How are you ensuring your educational content is top-notch? Go to Catalyst to share your thoughts and discover what your peers are doing to create powerful one-of-a-kind programs.

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