You've chosen a great meeting destination. You've picked ideal meeting dates. You've planned a killer meeting program, with awesome speakers and sessions. Now, there's just one thing left to do: Convince potential delegates to attend. Or more accurately: Convince their bosses to let them attend.
"'The conference costs what?' … may be the first sentence a potential attendee hears from her boss when asking to attend a conference, training or networking event," says Meeting Professionals International (MPI) blogger Jennifer Juergens. "So, despite all the hard work you've put in securing that famous keynote speaker, the terrific educational breakouts and the great networking opportunities, whether or not the attendee can actually attend may simply come down to dollars and cents."
Although you can't let people attend your meeting for free, you can help attendees overcome the financial burdens they face by helping them sell the value of your meeting to the executives above them.
"To help attendees communicate the benefits of attending your meeting to their bosses, provide a list of what's on the agenda -- but it's got to be all about what they're going to get out of attending and what they're going to take back with them to help their day-to-day productivity and/or that of the organization," says Juergens, who asked Joan Eisenstodt -- founder of meeting consulting, facilitation and training company Eisenstodt Associates -- for her ideas.
"I've done this with printed and online brochures: 'Here's specifically what you're going to get by coming to the meeting,'" Eisenstodt tells Juergens. "And once they are at the meeting, I give them a worksheet on what they've learned, how they are going to use the information and how it's going to impact their businesses."