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June 19, 2015

PCMA: Five Ways You Might Be Turning Off Your Attendees

By Carolyn Clark

Nothing matters more than attendee satisfaction. As you gear up for your next meeting, make sure your organization is doing everything possible to please your audience. Here are five ways you might be turning off your attendees.

1) Sending too many emails.

As you try to raise awareness about your registration deadlines, it can be tempting to turn to email for all the answers. It’s a cost-effective and convenient route to popping up in every prospective attendee’s inbox. However, too many emails will put your name into the dreaded SPAM category. Instead of scheduling a calendar full of promotional email blasts, make sure that your communication strategy includes a mix of Facebook posts, tweets, LinkedIn discussions and direct mailings. Then, before you hit send on your next email, ask yourself a key question: would I be interested in reading this? If it’s not newsworthy, it’s not worth sending.

2) Recycling your speakers.

Do the names in this year’s program look very similar to last year’s schedule? While they might be experts, your attendees are looking for fresh insights and new perspectives. Work with your education department to make sure that the slate of keynote speakers and panelists includes a big number of never-before-seen-at-your-conference names.

3) Creating a cumbersome registration process.

Think about how simple it is to check out at your favorite online retailer. Attendees want the same experience when they’re entering in credit card information to pay for registration fees. Believe it or not, some conventions still have systems that require faxing in forms for certain registrations. Others encounter serious glitches that lead to headlines in major news outlets. If you’re searching for the right registration software, check out this handy directory from The Meeting Pool.

4) Overwhelming them on-site.

From the early morning breakfast to the daily session schedule to the late-night cocktail party, a day at a meeting can be exhausting. Multiple by that by three or four at a typical conference, and you’ll see some very tired attendees. As you outline the schedule for your next conference, think about ways to give your audience bigger breaks — not just 15-minute coffee bars between sessions. Can you offer yoga classes at the venue? Is there a space to create a more informal networking area where attendees who don’t want to sit in a ballroom can go and have conversations?

5) Sending surveys that require forever to finish.

Everyone loves to know that someone’s listening to their feedback, but very few attendees want to spend an hour sending their thoughts on your program. Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to send concise surveys that can deliver real, actionable feedback. If you’ve been facing challenges with your survey creation, check out this article to find your solutions.

Read more at PCMA.org... 

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