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The President’s Role at Conferences

Posted By Paul Hanscom, CAE, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, Ewald Consulting, Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Annual Conference is the normally the largest assembly of your members in one location throughout the year. It is an opportunity for exchanging ideas, making connections, and advancing the state of the industry. As the “chief volunteer,” you have a unique role in facilitating each of these elements of the conference experience, all while allowing your conference planning team to take the lead in hosting the event.

 

Chief Ambassador

The annual conference draws new members, first-time attendees, and guest speakers from all over. These individuals likely do not have a well-established foothold in the association community and will seek opportunities to connect with anyone they recognize in the crowd. As the face of the organization, you are uniquely qualified to reach out to these individuals, welcome them to the event, and help them to make a connection with someone. Those who experience an event for the first time and develop a sense of belonging/connection will be much more likely to attend again in the future. Be sure to help these key individuals feel like an integral part of the conference community rather than experiencing it from a distance as an observer.

 

Discussion Facilitator

In the role of president, you become steeped in information and conversation about issues impacting the industry. You know your association members and conference attendees better than most and can serve to facilitate discussion between people who otherwise may not find a connection. Do not underestimate your ability to “grease the wheels” of industry communication by helping build relationships and foster ideas about how the industry you serve can grow, develop, and improve.

 

Steward of Recognition

Make time to connect with each sponsor and exhibitor representative and express appreciation for their support. This is also an opportunity to learn more about their interests and how they hope to continue gaining value from their support of the annual conference experience.

 

Find ways to recognize Past Presidents and industry leaders in attendance. You are one of the few people who know the full scope of contribution these people have made to the organization. Ensure that they are greeted appropriately and find a way to incorporate public recognition of their work as a way to inspire future leaders.

Tags:  association management  associations 

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