Communication is the key to any successful meeting, so why are attendees still confused and notorious for asking what we think are obvious questions? Well, maybe it’s not the attendees fault, but the way we’re communicating with them.
The population as a whole is constantly overstimulated with information from advertisements, blogs, videos, articles, social updates, and commercials. We digest information differently now. Attendees are inundated more than ever through their smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Emails are so 2013! Kidding, they will always be a must-have, but really, it’s time to step-up your game. Communications may be happening more frequently, but the real challenge (or opportunity) is to find the disruption that captures their attention.
Before you can develop your customized communication strategy you must understand your audience. What are the gender, age, and career type breakdowns? What type of activities and sessions will these attendees be involved in? What’s your overall objective? What type of mobile devices does your group tend to use? Once you’ve got some background data gathered, you’ll be armed to make more strategic decisions for communication. The list below includes the top three must-have communication tools for your next meeting.
Video is #winning
Best Resource: Wistia (you’ll thank me later)
Studies have shown that content is consumed more often and efficiently through video. I understand budget is always a first concern. Don’t be intimidated at the thought of production costs and hiring an entire team. If you have an iPhone and a couple of lights from Home Depot, you can make a quality video. And if you’ve got the budget for it, interview a few production teams before making a final decision – you have to feel a connection, be on the same page, and communicate effectively for your messaging to resonate with your audience. Make videos for event announcements, testimonials from past events, interviews with guest speakers, and the list goes on.
Most importantly, have fun …
Key takeaways & resources …
What is your goal? Brand awareness, lead generation, education, event updates, event awareness, etc.
Have fun! Videos don’t always have to be serious and stuffy. Mix it up.
Quality is key. It’s better to create quality videos than messy, fuzzy, ones that look unprofessional.
You don’t need $50,000! See how Wistia makes it happen on a budget.
Event Mobile Apps
Best Resource: rappidApp Blog
Event apps have blown up, especially over the past year. We get it – they’re an industry best practice, not a fad. But at the same time, let’s not get crazy. Every meeting and every event will not call for a mobile app. Just like videos, it’s better to create apps that bring value to your attendees and support your objective(s).
You should constantly be asking yourself, “how is this app bringing value to my attendees, exhibitors, guest speakers and sponsors?” The standard must-haves for content within your app include a map both for venue and local area points of interest, dining, and entertainment, an agenda with session times and descriptions highlighting guest speakers, and a sponsors page linking to their websites with booth information. Other tabs could include social integration, photo gallery, networking, note taking, in session polling, surveys, and gamification to name a few.
If you’ve invested in an app, besides the informative content, you need to focus on adoption and promotion, otherwise why have one? Use your videos as an opportunity to highlight your event’s app, in all email communications you should be including app download links and an image (if you have room), and visible signage at your event with download info. Keep the name of your app simple and relevant so it’s easy to find in the app stores. Promotion should start before the event, not just during the event. Be your own best hype man! Create the buzz, get people networking, share videos of the event coming together, promote your awesome prizes for the in-app game – get creative.
Key takeaways …
Start early. Plan your app while you’re planning your event/meeting.
Be your hype man! Promote before, during and after and use all channels including your videos!
Use analytics. Track the success of your app for your next event.
Value worthy. Not every meeting needs an app – what value are you bringing to your event people (not just attendees)?
Events on Google+
Best Resources: Google
So you’ve most likely heard of Google+ by now, but did you know they have an Events category? Of course they do, it’s Google! So what’s so awesome about hangouts for events? It goes beyond just a Facebook type event. It’s another tool to help create that buzz before, during and after your event. You can take advantage of the real-time photo sharing, sync sessions with your Google calendars, and live streaming from your event!
I know personally, if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist, so this connection is critical. And if you want to connect with your group, you can host group video calls and host face-to-face meetings. Automatic notifications are sent out to remind everyone to join. Imagine hosting a session with your presenters or interviewing previous attendees for their top reasons to attend the event. The potential is endless.
And remember those videos you created and the app you developed? This is another tool to help spread the word. Create engagement unlike ever before. Post notifications, create excitement for giveaways, highlight major presenters or booked entertainment.
Key takeaways …
Plan ahead. Is this scalable for the type of event you’re hosting?
Promote like a boss. Promote your Event group, videos, speakers, sessions, etc.
Don’t wait. Use this as a tool for all stages of your event.