Every industry wants to evolve, innovate and move forward. That’s why trade show and expo organizers look for the best and brightest to lead sessions at their events. It’s why trade shows and expos showcase new and innovative products and services presented by their exhibitors. It’s why in person, live events are a great motivator for those who attend.
When attendees get back to their offices, it’s often a different story. Attendees return filled with excitement and ideas that will move their companies forward thus advancing the industry, but those around them did not just have the same experience. They do not have the same frame of reference. The attendee needs additional tools to help them sell the need for change and innovation to others in their company. Tools that show and conference organizers can provide.
1. Talking Points
Many conferences and trade shows have themes. Some of those themes are planned, and some emerge during the course of the event. Create a short one-page document, SlideShare, or on-demand webinar that clearly explains key themes and ideas, includes talking points, and data that back up the talking points. Your attendees can use these tools when presenting their ideas to their teams or company management.
Not everyone is adept at communicating big ideas well; these short pieces will help your attendees stay on point and clearly explain the changes they want to implement, with hard data to back up their ideas.
2. Case Studies
Ask your sponsors and exhibitors for case studies that highlight their customers who have implemented change and ways they benefited as a result. Those case studies provide you, the event organizer with valuable content. It also gives you a way to provide added value to your exhibitors and sponsors. Your attendees benefit by having documentation to share with their company’s leadership team that shows their requested changes are viable.
To ensure the content submitted is an actual case study and not just a marketing piece, create standards and guidelines the case studies must adhere to.
3. Research Library
Sure, your attendee could scour the Internet for research, studies and white papers to support their proposed plan for innovation, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were all in one easy to search location? It’s likely that your speakers, sponsors and exhibitors have much of this information published already. Start collecting valid research and store it in a searchable library. Make sure you are replacing the old content with the most up-to-date information available.
Again, this is added value for your sponsors and exhibitors, and it shows your organization is the go-to source for industry news.
4. Conversation Platforms
Provide tools for your attendees to build a local community of innovation champions in their industry. TED does a great job of this with their support of TEDx events. TED provides standards and tools for people to organize local TEDx events.
You don’t need to go as far as TED does, but you could encourage attendees to continue the conversation by organizing local Meetups. Provide them with topic ideas and supporting materials (see research library and talking points above). Connect attendees with industry thought leaders in their area, and create a space on your website to host the ideas that come out of those Meetups.
Event organizers often lament the finality of the event. You put in all that hard work and planning and suddenly it is over without much fanfare to memorialize it. Perhaps the end is not celebrated because, for your attendees, the end of your event is when everything begins.