Here are six proven, low cost and high impact ways that meeting planners can generate more value and visibility for their attendees, speakers, and staff. In so doing they build more incentives for future support, sponsorship and attendance at the next conference.
1. After you hire a speaker, ask that presenter to submit three actionable tips (under 100 words each, with embedded links and a related image for each plus a head and shoulders photo of them) that they will offer in their presentation, plus a two-sentence bio with a link to a site where attendees can learn more tips from that speaker. Then create a valuable, long-lasting conference souvenir that you email to attendees as they are leaving the conference: an e-booklet of all speakers’ tips plus a back page of credits, listing all staff and volunteers who contributed to the success of the conference, plus a sign-up page for attendees to get notified of the next conference, that includes a free e-gift for early sign-ups.
2. Strengthen the connective thematic thread of your conference by sending all speakers the collective list of speakers’ tips and ask them to find at least one tip from another speaker that relates to their topic to refer to in their presentation.
3. During the conference, ask each speaker to create one-minute video tips, with explanatory text titles using the free app Gloopt and their iPhone. See conference examples here and mine here. Ask them to include the hashtag for the conference in each video, and suggest that they share them on social media while at the conference. This approach provides bragging rights, thus spurring attendees’ sharing as they get visibility by so doing. This will boost the value and visibility of the conference itself, the ideas explored at the conference, and the speakers.
4. In advance of the conference, invite attendees to download the free app so that during the conference they can use their iPhone to video themselves asking other attendees for a tip they heard at the conference, and from whom they heard it. Attendees might cite a speaker or exhibitor or other attendee from whom they learned something helpful. This gives four people bragging rights that can spur them to share these videos: the interviewee, the person interviewed, the person cited, and the meeting planner.
5. Act like a movie director and storyboard the sequence of meaningful moments attendees experience at a conference to increase the positive elements and reduce or eliminate the boring ones. See how here.
6. When attendees sign up, ask them to send you, by X date, the name of a book that helped them in their work last year, even if it does not seem to directly relate to their work. You can display the top 10 most-cited books at the conference, along with the names of the people who cited them.
When you receive responses, send the respondents a PDF that reinforces the value of their attendance with some exciting news. Also include three alphabetical lists: a list of attendees, followed by the book title they submitted; a list of books, followed by the name of the attendee(s) who submitted them and a list of the attendees’ 10 favorite/most relevant books. Get ten free copies of each book from the publisher by telling them how many conference attendees are coming, and that you will:
1. Cite the books in an email to all attendees in advance of the conference
2. Display the books at your conference
3. From the stage, give away the copies to outstanding attendees you want to honor.