Make Yours a Must-Attend Meeting

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Too many meetings look like this.

ROI, relevance and varying formats—all play a part in creating a must-attend meeting

Prospective convention attendees have many options for investing their time and money. As registrations are on the decline, what can you do to design a must-attend meeting?


People from all generations ask, “What’s in it for me?” when contemplating whether to invest their time and money; they want to easily identify their return on investment. Boomers and Millennials may measure R.O.I. differently, but it’s equally important to both. Your convention programming and marketing should answer that question clearly and specifically, focusing on benefits, not features.


Conventions should be where cutting-edge information is revealed. Where the smartest people in the industry share their best practices. Where every participant leaves with more than one idea to enhance his/her career, company, and/or industry. Busy people do not have time to listen to sessions that regurgitate information easily found online.

Avoid irrelevancy by knowing what is trending in your industry and who is talking about it. Bring those people in to demonstrate to your target audience how to leverage the information to enhance their current and future success.


Adult learning styles are most often described as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, but no one learns in only one way; we employ multiple styles. It’s important that speakers deliver information so all participants understand and then are able to apply what they’ve learned. Require speakers to use multiple teaching styles that necessitate participants to discuss, explore, and/or apply what they are teaching.

Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE has been a meeting professional and association manager since 1986, first as a planner and director for state associations and then as an independent planner. Since 2016 she has consulted and advised associations on ways to renovate their meetings and boards of directors to run more creatively, differently, and boldly.

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