Boards and Annual Conference Venues

Eric Lanke

I've had two recent experiences that have made me think critically about an association board's role in selecting venues for their association's annual conference. As if that was the only thing that could spell success for the conference.

The Problems Attendees Experience at Conferences

Smooth The Path

Members love to talk about their conference experience during in-depth interviews with me. We spend a lot of time talking about their conference experience because the conference is where most members get the most value. Many conference attendees go to every session.

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What Participants Expect From 21st Century Conference Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

Everything we take for granted about conferences, and planning them, faces disruption. Participants from all generations and cultures increasingly expect conferences to mirror their work and personal lives. Savvy conference organizers meet these disruptions head-on.

Musings from the RSA Conference

Association Management

RSA Conference is this week in San Francisco. This event is like the annual prom for the security industry—part conference, part trade show, part “place to be.” Finally, I was pleased to see the conference include a track this year on.

Conferences Suck At Measurement!

Velvet Chainsaw

Conference professionals suck at measurement. If you trust your conference smile sheet evaluations as a barometer of how effective your conference education was, you are just being foolish says learning research psychologist Dr. Will Thalheimer.

Configurable and Personalized Conference Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

The mass-personalization wave that is dramatically changing what and how we buy as consumers has application to conferences. Application to Conferences. In my opinion, the first item — individualizing a conference experience for every attendee — isn’t scalable today.

Four Things that Turned This Association’s Annual Conference into a Member Recruiting Machine

Wild Apricot Blog

For many associations the annual conference is the biggest event of the year. But, what many associations don’t realize is that the annual conference can also be their biggest member recruiter. Here's how one association uses its annual conference to add hundreds of members each year.

What Is Your Conference ROM?

Velvet Chainsaw

So what is your conference’s return on mission? Think of ROM as investments that should move the mission of your organization and conference forward in very real and tangible ways. So how are your investments in your conference moving the mission of your organization forward?

Turning Post-Conference Euphoria into Action

YourMembership Blog

The days after a major conference are filled with busy work, attending to all of the things you pushed off leading to the conference. I have 50,000 vendors calling me (yes they call me too, I know how you feel) some from conference and others I politely deferred before conference.

Bringing The Sexy Back To Conferences [And Conference Planning]

Velvet Chainsaw

If you have ever attended a conference, you know how most of them feel. Some conference organizers try to innovate. Instead, you need to create your own conference style. Here are five tips to bring the sexy back to conferences and conference planning.

The Conference Experience Starts Before the Conference

Smooth The Path

How do you create a great conference experience? By getting attendees ready for a great conference experience! Here are three new things to try out: Rock the pre-conference communications : What are the most common attendee mistakes or misunderstandings?

Forecasting The Future Of Conferences: Trends You Should Adopt Now

Velvet Chainsaw

Your conference today is where it is based upon the decisions you as a conference organizer made in the past. The decisions you make today about your conference creates your conference’s future. We’ve talked about conference predictions here and here.

Conferences During Hinge Times

Velvet Chainsaw

Our conferences are planned to educate attendees for an era that no longer exists. Most of our conference attendees were educated on how to be right. Level 1: Transactional – delivery and exchange of information and data (where most conference experiences occur).

Obtaining Post-Conference Buy-In to Innovation

YourMembership Blog

Yesterday’s blog post gave a few tips on turning post-conference excitement into action. When you come back from a conference with all of these delicious ideas percolating in your head, it’s hard [.] ( Read more. ) Membership Management conference innovation

How to Pick Forward Thinking Conference Topics

Velvet Chainsaw

Much less how to apply forecasting to picking future-focused conference and education topics for my customers.”. Your organization’s conference and education topics need to be forward focused not best-practice or backwards focused on what worked for someone last year. Forecasting!

When Your Conference Planning Process Eclipses Your Purpose

Velvet Chainsaw

When Conference Plans Land On Chutes. So many conference leaders, organizers and planning teams are obsessed with details, logistics and planning. Their plans actually obscure their conference’s vision. Their attention to detail and efficiency eclipses the conference purpose.

Misguided And Misinformed Conference Barometers

Velvet Chainsaw

Many of us who plan conferences have become so busy at the logistics of the event that we lose sight of the goal. Misleading Barometers Our own expectations of repeating what we’ve always done for organizing our conferences have become misguided barometers.

Successful Conferences Link Learning To Business Performance

Velvet Chainsaw

And the most successful conferences link their learning opportunities to their target market’s strategic business interest. They do not see their conference education sessions as a roll of the call-for-proposal-dice. And it results in conference success and loyalty.

Good news foodies: Conference venues are listening

Aaron Wolowiec

At a conference dinner earlier this month, a bunch of us, hungry and tired, sat at the table joking that chicken was most likely on the menu. Sounds about right for a conference, yes? Farm-to-food eating is gaining popularity across the globe, so conference venues are taking note.

Weak Ties Make Stronger Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

Conference Connections. Conferences offer a unique opportunity for attendees to connect to people outside of their immediate sphere. Conference Ideas To Leverage Weak Ties. Event & Meeting Planning conference best practices conferences connexity networking

Your Conference Logo Needs Policing

Velvet Chainsaw

Ok, you get it – Your Conference is a Brand. You’ve got your conference mission. You know how your conference will advance the profession and what’s in it for your participants. Design your conference logo. Your conference should stand for more than a cartoon cowboy.

A Critical Marketing Tool for Association Conferences


It’s summertime and the 2017 association conference season is off to a great start. A key component of your overall conference marketing plan should be a letter/proposal template that can be used by potential attendees to pitch the idea to their boss/board, etc.

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Improving Conference Attendee Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

Experiences are better when conferences are built around people. The conference experience greatly improves for all stakeholders when they are built around people and their relationships. Traditional Conference Experience. Conferences Should Be Built Around People. Tweet.

Relabel Conference Registrants

Velvet Chainsaw

A Momentous Catalyst To Conference Attendee Behavior Change. I am often asked how to get conference attendees to adopt 21 st Century learning habits. The majority of conferences treat attendees as consumers of information. Conference Planning Registrants Relabel

These Ideas Worked A Decade Ago For Your Conference But Not Today

Velvet Chainsaw

10-20 years ago, we saw conferences grow both in numbers and maturity. These days, our society, our culture and our conferences change. Outdated Ineffective Conference Ideas That We Think Worked A Decade Ago. The annual conference just doesn’t cross their mind.

365-Day Conferences Are Unrealistic

Velvet Chainsaw

Conference organizers have been on a quest to create a 365-day community around their big annual event. Most conference organizers do a decent job of delivering education and networking value before and during the event. But what about after the conference?

Four Ways To Attract NextGen Conference Participants

Velvet Chainsaw

Attracting the next generation of participants is an urgent priority for most professional conference organizers. Too often we think that means injecting conference botox to give our event a more youthful, trendy hip vibe. Yet it is much more than giving our conference a face-lift.

When Conference Participants Vote With Their Feet

Velvet Chainsaw

And one that we as conference organizers should pay attention to. So let’s dig deeper into the issue of people voting with their feet at your conference. Is your conference only a consumer-driven event? Or is your conference a leading transformational experience?

Conference Education Should Drive Business Growth

Velvet Chainsaw

The only reason that conference education sessions exist is to drive a business’ outcomes. Ok, sure some conference education sessions exist for personal development, hobbies or pleasure. But most of us attend conferences to learn and grow professionally.

Mediocrity Is Your Biggest Conference Competitor

Velvet Chainsaw

Your real conference competition is not that event held six months after yours. Today’s technology driven, hyper-connected, instant gratification, real-time world puts you as a conference organizer in a difficult position. Have you normalized conference mediocrity as acceptable?

Flipping Conference Education For Successful Learning

Velvet Chainsaw

So what is the flipped conference education session? In short, the term is used to describe any format where there is a pre-recorded or pre-conference feature. It might be a lecture on video, recorded PPT presentation or pre-conference webinar. Flipped conference education: 1.

Bringing Authentic Conference Conversations To Life

Velvet Chainsaw

Peer conversations are more important to your conference than you know. You know when it’s happening at conferences because the rooms are buzzing with discussions. The Industrial Conference Is Dead. Shifting Our Thinking About Conversations And Conferences.

Four Basic Conference Principles You Must Adopt

Velvet Chainsaw

Which would you rather create for your conference attendees? Unfortunately, most conferences are nothing more than brain drains. The Traditional Conference Tension. Conference organizers have to balance a common tension: fill seats versus creating a unique attendee experience.

Delivery or Discovery? The Dueling Conference Competitors

Velvet Chainsaw

Which is more important to your attendees’ conference experience? There lies the tension for 21st Century Conferences offering education sessions. The Faulty Premise For Conference Delivery As A Priority. Then conference organizers say “We’ve revolutionized our education.”.

Attitudes That Separate Growing, Healthy Conferences From Declining Ones

Velvet Chainsaw

So what’s the difference between a growing, healthy conference and a declining one? Leadership—boards, committees, volunteers, staff—of growing, healthy conferences share some common attitudes. And leaders of declining conferences share similar outlooks as well.

Conference Improvement Means People Improvement

Velvet Chainsaw

The quality of a conference’s education program cannot exceed the quality of its speakers. The greatest variance in our conferences relates to our presenters. In short, a conference education program cannot give what it does not have. Conferences Exist For People Improvement.

Fostering Planned Serendipity At Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

We’ve all experienced it at a conference. You leave the conference with new connections that will continue to grow and tell your friends and co-workers it was the best “networking” experience you’ve ever had at a conference. Some people call it luck. Others call it fate.

Creating A Stronger Conference Story

Velvet Chainsaw

Emmy-winning former Wall Street Journal and NBC journalist, author , inventor and business consultant Kare Anderson shares her thoughts on creating a stronger conference story. 00:30 – Creating A Conference Story. 03:46 – Threading And Theming A Conference. Tweet.

Growing Conference Technology Competency To Increase Your Value

Velvet Chainsaw

As a conference organizer, how would you rank your competency regarding conference technologies like registration, speaker management databases, exhibits, conference apps, wayfinding signage, email marketing, CRM data bases and social media?

The Truly Networked Conference

Velvet Chainsaw

We even attend conferences and meetings as a way to gain new knowledge. For years, many conference organizers and their hosts have taken great pride in being the sole source of trustworthy knowledge for their industry and profession. The Networked Conference.