The Five Stages of an Event Audit: Stage Four: Education & Professional Development

Events and conferences play a pivotal role in the membership experience. If attendance is declining, it might be a symptom of something deeper.

In this five part series, we will discuss how an event audit will help your association make improvements and enhancements of your Conference, ensure that you are maximizing opportunities with partnerships, increase member engagement overall, increase your communications and marketing effectiveness, and move your association towards delivering effective ongoing programming.

Event Audits are what your association needs if you are:

  • Looking to determine the “wants” and “needs” of your community (members, prospective members, sponsors/exhibitors, and other potential stakeholders) to ensure that your delivery of a conference remains aligned with their key goals and objectives;
  • Looking to seek guidance, plans and recommendations from industry experts, as a result of the feedback obtained, on the overall experience and delivery of the Conference, taking into account the other events (and, other industry events) that are planned in your sector;
  • You are seeking advice on whether taking your conference to the next level in terms of technology and delivery (i.e. in-person vs. virtual vs. hybrid) is appropriate;
  • How to better market your Conference to prospective participants, and;
  • How to better market and deliver ROI to prospective sponsors and exhibitors.

The first three phases, Overall Data Mining & Research, Marketing & Communications and Sponsorship, have been covered. Now we get into Education & Professional Development.

This is where things start to come together – you should review the results of the first three phases to consider how to make changes to your content.  Are there delivery trends for speakers and sessions at conferences that you should tap in to? What are your competitors doing?

What you should address:

  • Address preferences as outlined in the survey results;
    • Considering learning styles and comparing them to the type of content delivered
  • Look at the length & number of sessions delivered
    • The length of the session can be dependent on the format of the content delivered, allowing time for comments and questions from the floor, how many simultaneous sessions are delivered, how many keynote speakers, etc.
  • Session types – how are you keeping it fresh? (i.e. one speaker, panel discussions, fireside chats, hands-on workshops, etc.)
  • Determine the type of keynote speaker that should be sought out for your participants
    • Based on feedback and trends from your competitive set, determining the type(s) of keynote speakers and the message to be delivered to participants (i.e. motivational, practical)
  • Set expectations and develop a strong speaker confirmation process:
    • Provide a tips and best practices in a speaker agreement, outlining any new expectations and reiterating a code of conduct

With all of this feedback and thought; what’s left? Event Design!

Does your conference need a review?  Consider an Event Audit! Reach out to us by email at info@greenfield-services.ca for a customized quote.

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