For anyone tasked with planning their annual association meeting, you probably understand how overwhelming it can be—especially the various technical integrations. That’s why we’re sharing these association meeting tips.
From ensuring seamless virtual attendance to integrating event management software, all the way to engaging participants with interactive sessions and navigating the vast landscape of social media promotion—it’s indeed a multifaceted challenge.
The Inn has collaborated on numerous successful association meetings and recognizes the significance of merging tradition with technological advancements.
In this spirit, we’d like to share our insights on optimizing technology for your next annual event.
Association Meeting Tips: Leveraging Technology
1. Embrace Virtual Attendance
While in-person meetings are preferred for a multitude of reasons, virtual attendance continues to rise. A recent survey by Airgram found that 49% of respondents attend hybrid meetings, and 26% attend mainly online meetings.
Offering virtual attendance options can broaden your audience reach and increase member engagement.
With tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Cisco Webex, attendees worldwide can participate in the gathering.
To further enhance the virtual experience, consider the following:
- Use a dedicated video conferencing platform. This will ensure high-quality audio, video, and various features such as screen sharing, chat, and breakout rooms.
- Create a virtual agenda and program. This will help attendees stay organized and informed and make it easier for them to navigate the event.
- Provide opportunities for virtual networking. This could include virtual lounges, one-on-one meetings, or group discussions.
- Offer virtual support. Ensure attendees can access a dedicated tech support team to help them with any issues.
INNsider Tip: The Inn offers a plethora of technology services. Explore them here.
2. Use Event Management Software
Platforms like Eventbrite, Cvent, and Whova can streamline registrations, track attendee metrics, and facilitate communication before, during, and after the event.
These platforms can also be integrated with mobile apps to keep attendees engaged and informed on the go.
When choosing an event management platform, consider the following factors:
- Features: What features are important to you? Do you need a platform that can handle everything from registration to budgeting? Or are you looking for a more focused platform, such as one specializing in speaker management?
- Ease of use: How effortless is the platform to use? Can you easily navigate the interface and find the features you need?
- Integrations: Does the platform integrate with other tools you use, such as your CRM system or marketing platform?
- Pricing: How much does the platform cost? Consider your budget and the features you need when making a decision.
Event management software can help you streamline the entire meeting planning and execution process. It can manage registrations, payments, speakers, sessions, and more.
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3. Engage with Interactive Polls and Q&A Sessions
Engage your audience with live polls, surveys, or Q&A sessions. Tools such as Slido or Kahoot! can make these sessions fun and interactive, providing immediate feedback and encouraging participation.
Here are some tips for using interactive polls and Q&A sessions effectively:
- Ask relevant questions. Make sure your questions are relevant to the session’s topic and your audience’s interests.
- Use a variety of question types. This will help to keep your audience engaged and prevent them from getting bored.
- Display the results in real-time. This will allow your audience to see how their responses compare to others and encourage them to participate further.
4. Offer Digital Networking Opportunities
Virtual networking platforms, such as Remo or Wonder.me, allow attendees to join virtual tables, exchange business cards, or even chat over video. This not only mimics the in-person networking experience but also offers a unique way to connect.
Here are some ideas for offering digital networking opportunities:
- Create a hybrid lounge. This could be a dedicated space where in-person and online attendees can chat, exchange business cards, and share information.
- Host virtual one-on-one meetings. This could be a scheduled meeting between two attendees or a more spontaneous meeting initiated by an attendee.
- Organize group discussions. This could be a discussion around a specific topic or simply a chance for attendees to get to know each other better.
5. Use Social Media to Amplify your Message
Create event-specific hashtags or live stream parts of your event. Platforms like X, LinkedIn, and Instagram can create a buzz around your meeting, allowing attendees and those unable to attend to join the conversation.
Here are some tips for using social media effectively:
- Create a dedicated event hashtag. This will help you track conversations about your event and make it easier for attendees to connect.
- Post regularly. Share updates about the event, speaker lineup, schedule, and other relevant information.
- Use engaging visuals. Photos and videos are a great way to capture attention and generate excitement about your event.
- Encourage attendees to share. Ask attendees to share their photos, videos, and thoughts about the event using the event hashtag.
6. Stay Green with Digital Handouts
Reduce the paper trail by offering digital versions of your handouts, brochures, or schedules. Apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, or dedicated event apps can make these materials easily accessible for all attendees.
7. Set up a Tech Support Desk
Whether in-person or virtual, technical hiccups are bound to happen. A dedicated tech support desk or chatbot can assist attendees with any issues, ensuring a smooth experience.
As The Inn at Virginia Tech continues to witness successful association meetings year after year, we recognize the value of leveraging technology to enhance the overall experience. While tradition holds its place, adapting and embracing these technological advancements can only add to the allure and efficiency of your event.
We hope these association meeting tips lead to successful and tech-savvy meetings ahead! Remember, genuine connections and shared knowledge make annual meetings truly memorable regardless of platform or tool.