It’s a Multiscreen World Now
At this point in the pivoting pandemic paradigm, virtual events
are – to go deeper into the COVID-19 cliches – a “new normal.” What’s also normal – in business and real life – is that phones are now a fixture.
We use them to look things up amid conversation regularly, to aid us in conversation. Conferences are no different, in particular when camera-off options make it far less “rude” to glance down while someone is speaking.
Instead of letting it slide, welcome the engagement by making smartphones an integral part of the event experience.
Be sure to engage early with notifications reminding registrants of the upcoming excitement. Tie it together with the event theme. Whether educational, celebratory or otherwise, chapters can be encouraged to plan “watch parties” of sorts, with local cocktail hours scheduled ahead of the official start. Mix a playlist, plan a recipe for an event cocktail or mocktail and appetizer.
Speaker bios, schedules and presentation content can be loaded into an event app ahead of time to allow attendees to get up to speed ahead of time (or read while in attendance) and polls and other interactive elements will allow them to participate in real time during the sessions or festivities.
Though “being there” might be best, many of us don’t necessarily live in that world anymore. Making replays available is essential to keep attendance up, as our domestic situations have shifted much in the better part of 2020.
Allowing sessions to be available on demand will make the decision to register that much easier and stress-free. It also allows those who were there to buzz back and revisit the touch points they found most meaningful and share that content with others.
The lack of a central location need not dilute the attendee experience. There are myriad ways to keep things rich, even while keeping them remote.
Growth: Actual, Not Virtual?
As the effects of COVID-19 continue to deepen, some association management companies have reported increased interest from associations looking to outsource services in the wake of economy spawned staff cuts.
To maximize the fruits of these potential new partnerships, think carefully about your association’s goals and have a thoughtful discussion with the companies you consider working with to see if flexibility is as much a part of who they are as full-service – as we’ve all learned, our needs during a pandemic can shift on a dime.
Help with virtual meetings – which have exploded in popularity – are among the top asks. Assistance in driving non-dues revenue is high on the list, as well.
This could also be a year to finally consider investing in higher level association management software to help ease the increase in tech-related solutions across the board. Tools are more diverse than ever.
Think hard before engaging and come to the table prepared. the more precise you and your team are about the services you need and goals you have, the better equipped a new association management company will be to help you reach your goals – through the pandemic and beyond.
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