Conference planning: Meeting participant expectations
It used to be that conference attendees would be happy just to meet up with some familiar faces, enjoy a nice change of pace from the office routine, and maybe take a few tips and tricks and new contacts back home with them.
But times have changed, and so have expectations: today’s conference attendee is more demanding − and that’s a good thing.
In order to build a good connection with the target audience, the following points should be taken into account when planning conferences in order to keep attendees engaged and meet their expectations:
- Impart new information: Conference visitors don’t want to be spoon-fed information they already know or which is readily available on the web.
- Provide guidance: Participants arrive with specific questions they would like to find answers for at the conference. They are looking for solutions to their real day-to-day problems. They therefore expect to get some application-specific guidance.
- Allow time for everything to sink in: Participants need time to process new information and think about how it applies to their own situation. Therefore, care should be taken when planning to provide sufficient time and space for them to take in what they’ve learned.
- Give specific instructions: For each session they attend, conference participants need to decide how they can apply what they’ve heard to their own business. Each attendee should take home concrete action steps from every session. And every time you make the attendee’s boss happy, you can help your conference grow.
- Allow for active participation: In these days of digital communication, visitor participation is easier than ever to set up. Not only during the conference but already in advance, participants can vote on topics to be addressed and then decide in real time during the presentation which points should be discussed afterward.
Successful conference experiences are made up of the perfect blend of many elements. If the conference content and the participants’ experiences fulfill the above expectations, participants will feel good about their attendance, improve their skills, remember what they have learned, and feel motivated to put the next steps into practice back at the office.