We all want to be seen. We all want to matter. We all want to feel worthy. We all want to feel confident. We all want to feel smart. We all want to feel loved.
Did you know…
can be the surest way…
the way we all want to be and feel?
Think about your experience (especially as a first-timer) at a conference. Did you feel seen, worthy, confident, smart or loved? Chances are your members feel the same.
How are they feeling as they pack? How are they feeling as they jump on a plane? How are they feeling as they get to the hotel? How are they feeling as they walk down the concourse to registration? How are they feeling as they leave registration? How are they feeling as they plan their schedule? How are they feeling when they get to the reception?
Are they feeling human? Or are they thinking mooooo, I’m a cog, I’m just tiny, tiny fish in this huge sea where everyone seems to already know each other? Are they thinking, I’m feeling alone, awkward, small, insignificant?
When we see that the top reasons members attend are for the professional development and networking we focus on the professional development and networking. That means the sessions, the keynote speakers and the receptions get outsized attention. But can our members learn or connect when they are feeling shy, scared, small or shut out?
We have an amazing amount of control over how first-time and second-time and long-time attendees feel. Whether they are in the planning stages, packing and preparing for their trip or finally being immersed in the conference, the difference between feeling big or feeling small is all in the experiences we provide.
We can prepare them ahead of time, help them start connecting with each other in advance of the conference and generate some excitement. We can welcome them fully and with an open heart. We can invite them to be active participants not passive recipients. We can teach them to create their own best experience. We can facilitate them meeting each other not by just providing a room but by putting them in situations where the pressure is off and the connections are fun and easy.
What is your association conference user experience like? If you do not know you can ask members, attendees, exhibitors and sponsors. You can ask first-timers and long-timers. In fact if anything is trailing off, flat or slowing down let’s ask our members how they feel so we can provide, not only the best professional development and networking, but also the best experience.
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