Want to see more of your association’s members attending your events? If your attendance rates are low, it could have to do with the activities your events hold- more specifically, the lectures.
While educational resources are always highly sought after by members of all generations and demographics, incorporating a classroom-style learning activity into your events could actually be hurting your attendance rates. It may be shocking to hear, but it’s unfortunately true.
According to Conferences That Work, lectures seem to be the least effective way of learning- especially in an event or conference setting. And associations that are implementing the classroom-like lecture and/or speech may be setting up event attendees for a lackluster experience that leaves them with very little information.
You want your event attendees to get the most out of their time at your events, whether it’s education or atmosphere. And keeping those attendees happy will only set your events up for increased attendance year over year. So, what’s the solution?
If you’re an association that finds itself using old school learning tactics at events, it may be time to ditch the lecture and opt in for something much more interactive, educational, and most important- fun.
Let’s take a look at a few alternatives your association can introduce into its events and conferences that can let you leave the lectures in the past and bring brand new learning opportunities into the future for event attendees.
No, that is not a typo. PechaKucha is a style of presentation that allows many to get in on the fun while also using short bursts of presentation to keep your attendees’ attention for the entire activity- and not to mention it can be highly educational!
PechaKucha is a presentation style that prompts presenters to show 20 slides in exactly 20 minutes. This allows those presenting to be creative with the lesson they teach, giving them the opportunity to design easy to digest slides and divide up their 20 minutes as they see fit. It’s a great way to allow multiple presenters in a short time block, giving attendees the ultimate educational resource while also having fun.
You can even let attendees in on the fun. Consider encouraging your attendees to create their own PechaKucha presentation on a topic that relates back to your event. It may even be a great way to get to know your members a bit more!
2. “Ted Talk” Speech
Want to keep the same feel as an educational lecture, but in a way your attendees will enjoy? With the popularity and success of Ted Talks at your fingertips, you can.
Ted Talks have been a concept since the 1990’s, and their entertainment value hasn’t seemed to die down since. They’re a great way to relay information while also being highly entertaining, combining great public speakers with visually engaging slideshows, videos, photos, and other content. And they’re a great model that your association can adopt into its events.
Consider hosting your own Ted Talk style speech for your events in order to relay the information you’d like attendees to receive. You can work with guest speakers to put together a presentation that attendees will love being apart of and that they can take key educational points away from.
Want a more hands-on way to get your attendees to learn new lessons and value your events? Holding workshops and how-to courses can get the ball rolling and get attendees to actively take part in your events.
Workshops are great for those attendees who want an inclusive learning experience. It’s also a way to make learning creative, which is a great alternative to stiff lectures and classroom-style educational sessions.
Work with your association’s staff to put together workshops that relate to the event or conference you’re hosting. For example, if your event is for young professionals, you can put together a resume building workshop, or even an interview practice workshop. These types of activities not only help attendees learn, but they give them great practice for future professional opportunities.
4. Social learning
Did you know networking can actually be a great way to learn? By using other, well experienced attendees, you can actually create a social environment that doubles as an educational activity.
Giving your attendees breaks in between speeches and workshops to network and mingle with others can help them spread their wings and learn a lot more about the peers within their industry. It’s a way to get young professional members out of their shell and develop relationships and conversations with more experienced professionals in their field.
It’s also a way for your association’s staff to meet with members and answer many questions they have. While attendees may be flocking to your events for a specific purpose, it nevers helps to have them learn more about your organization while they’re there.
Promoting social activity and networking can help attendees organically learn more about their industry and those within it.
Delivering educational messages in the form of a lecture can come off as dry, leaving event attendees with nothing tangible to grasp onto and take away from their session. But through the art of telling a story, you’d be surprised what your guests will be able to learn.
Instead of encouraging your guest speakers to hold lectures, consider asking them to share stories from their professional experience in order to teach their lessons. Telling someone facts can only get them so far, but sharing these facts through a learning experience or an interesting anecdote can paint a picture that allows them to be more interactive with the lesson they’re learning.
To do this, you can choose a topic you’d like your speakers to focus on and ask them to share a story that incorporates and embodies that topic. Some great topics to focus on are: Leadership, motivation, hardships, trial and error, and anything else you think would fit your association’s event and overall mission.
Then, you can have a block where each guest speaker tells their own story, and even encourage event attendees to stand up and share short anecdotes of their own. Hearing others stories may teach attendees about certain aspects of their own professional journey, and keep them from making mistakes in the future.
Don’t let lectures ruin the fun at your association’s next event. Incorporate brand new, exciting educational opportunities and see more of a turnout year over year.