3 Ways to Maximize the Value of Your Meeting or Conference

In a previous post (read here), I shared the results of a recent Forbes survey that showed business executives still overwhelmingly believe in the value of face-to-face meetings. I also shared my belief that the same reasons given by the executives surveyed also hold true for Christian meetings and retreats.

Rally to Ridgecrest

There is definitely value in the personal interaction of face-to-face meetings, but as meeting planners, you must be intentional in fostering and maximizing the personal interaction that occurs during your event. Here are 3 things you can do to help make sure this happens:

  • Provide meaningful takeaways for your attendees – Whether it be the general sessions or the breakouts offered, work with your presenters to improve the quality of their material. Give those attending something they can really sink their teeth into. Also make sure the sessions are relevant to those attending your event. It could be a great presentation, but if it doesn’t connect with the audience and their needs, it’s pretty much a waste of their time.
  • Provide more networking opportunities – This is a huge one for me personally. When I attend a conference I feel I get as much, or more, from the networking than I do from the scheduled sessions. Be intentional about this, not only during the conference, but also before and after. Social media makes this easier than ever before. Create an online community where attendees and speakers can interact before, during and after your conference.
  • Provide more value to your sponsors and exhibitors – Sometimes these folks are forgotten, or taken for granted, by meeting planners. We’re probably a little unique in that we experience meetings and conferences from all angles (event sponsor, exhibitor, event planner and event host site) so we’ve seen this done well and not so well. If your event has sponsors/exhibitors never forget that these folks are helping to pay the cost of your conference. Be very intentional about optimizing exhibitor/attendee time. As an exhibitor or sponsor, I do not have an unlimited budget for tradeshows and conferences. Thus I’m going to focus my limited dollars on those events where I get the best bang for my buck.

What about your events? What are you doing to maximize the value for your attendees?

Your Thoughts?