By the time attendees receive the link to complete post-event surveys, memories of their on-site experience are most likely receding in their rearview mirror. They may recall their favorite keynote speaker or a less-than-perfect meal, but many of them may not have formed a decision about whether they’ll return or recommend the event to a friend.
To change this scenario, Elizabeth Glau, CMP, attendee experience manager at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), asked each of the nearly 15,000 registrants one simple question during their registration process for the ISTE 2017Annual Conference and Exposition, June 25–28, in San Antonio: What’s your goal for the conference?
“I wanted to learn more about what their objectives were and try to help them focus on them throughout the conference,” Glau said in the PCMA webinar “Hack Your Conference — Connections Between Classrooms and Session Rooms.” “Then, when it came time to complete the survey, I pulled in their responses from the registration form to ask if they achieved their goals.”
Glau doesn’t leave the goal portion of the registration form open-ended. Instead, she said that the organization has collected enough data about the educators who come to the conference that she can divide goals into a few different categories. The goal-setting process is part of the organization’s aim to reframe the way they think about attendees — a goal that was inspired by the way ISTE’s attendees think about the students they teach. “Our educators talk about this idea,” Glau said, “of the whole child.”
Consider a group of students: One might be focused on a long-term goal of getting into a prestigious university, another might be working toward earning a spot on the basketball team, and another classmate could be focused on addressing personal issues at home. Likewise, a group of attendees will also have wildly different goals, and the job of an event organizer is to create a path that helps them each accomplish them.
“We try to think about attendees as whole people,” Glau said. “They don’t just become attendees when they walk into the venue where you’re hosting the event. There’s so much to think about when you’re thinking about the individual person who is attending your conference.”
Glau offered additional insights for creating a program that feels tailored to the unique needs and objectives of everyone who attends your event. Go here to watch the full webinar. Be sure to check out Glau’s blog, too, to read more of the lessons she learned at the most recent ISTE Conference.