From short educational sessions to week-long conferences, providing learning opportunities for your members is essential, but can also leave even the most calm, cool association professionals feeling overwhelmed (insert cold sweat emoji, here)! Luckily, capturing a successful learning opportunity for your members doesn’t have to be daunting.
Start with these three tried-and-true tips to ensure the best experience for your members (and you!).
Prepare Your Speakers
There are few things more terrifying (for some of us) than public speaking. Not everyone is a natural, and that’s okay. But, you do want members and learners to leave your programming with the best impression of your organization. According to our own Freestone Account Director Emily Pilgrim, one simple way to improve the chances of a great experience is to prepare your speakers. She offers the following advice to presenters preparing for a conference, webinar, or webcasting event:
- Print it out. Make sure to print out a hard copy of your presentation and, include phonetic pronunciations for troublesome words.
- Be yourself, be upbeat, and include a joke or personal story in your presentation. This will help the audience connect with you on a more personal level.
- Ask for audience participation whenever possible.
- Prepare yourself. Ask friends or family members to act as a mock audience and practice your presentation with them.
- Stay hydrated/nourished. Presenting requires a lot of stamina. Make sure you’re well hydrated/nourished prior to the presentation.
- Relaxation is key. The night before the presentation try not to put too much strain on your vocal chords or body. If possible, plan for a low-key evening of tea sipping, while engaging in a relaxing activity.
Think Outside the Room
Some members not physically attending your learning offerings won’t want to wait until after the event to access your presentation. And, with webcasting they don’t have to. Providing a live video stream of the event that can be watched remotely solidifies your commitment to delivering the best member experience. In many cases, all necessary online continuing education requirements can be incorporated into the live webcasting, along with synced slides and the ability to ask the presenter questions.
Leverage Your Content
Remember, planning doesn’t stop at the event. What happens after the event is just as important. Once the event is recorded, post the content online so constituents who weren’t able to attend your conference onsite can view at their convenience. Additional features, such as quizzes, certificates, and evaluations, can be paired with your archived content to enhance the member experience. And, it doesn’t stop there. Content can be leveraged throughout the year as an educational tool and marketing opportunity.