An Independent HelmsBriscoe Associate | 636-678-7661 | jstone@helmsbriscoe.com

Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

First-Timer First Impressions: Make Them Count!

in: Attendee Experience

Creating inclusive and welcoming environments for all participants counts toward making them feel valued and engaged. First-time attendees, in particular, represent a unique opportunity to make a lasting impression and cultivate long-term relationships. Let’s explore strategies and tips to intentionally engage with first-timers to foster a sense of belonging, and add up to an impressive overall experience for everyone involved.

Number 1: Email Out the Welcome Mat

Make first-time attendees feel special from the moment they register by sending along a personalized welcome message. Include information about what they can expect from the event, tips for navigating the venue, and opportunities to connect with other attendees.

Number 2: First-Timers First Time Attendance

Organize an on-site orientation session specifically tailored for first-time attendees to familiarize them with the event format, schedule, and key features. Use this opportunity to introduce them to other participants, highlight networking opportunities, and provide insider tips for making the most out of their experience. Encourage veteran attendees to share their insights and advice with newcomers, creating a sense of community and camaraderie.

Number 3: Newbie Networking

Networking is a crucial aspect of any event, especially for first-time attendees looking to build connections and expand their professional networks. Create structured networking sessions – speed networking or roundtable discussions – to facilitate meaningful interactions. Encourage attendees to exchange contact information and follow up with each other after the event to maintain connections.

Number 4: Meeting Mentors

Establish mentorship programs pairing first-time attendees with seasoned veterans or industry experts who can offer guidance and support. Match mentors and mentees based on shared interests, goals, or areas of expertise to ensure meaningful and productive relationships. Encourage mentors to provide advice, share experiences, and help mentees navigate the event effectively.

Number 5: After-Event Feedback

Collect feedback from first-time attendees to assess their experience and identify areas for improvement. Send post-event surveys or conduct focus groups to gather insights into what worked well and what could be enhanced in future events. Use this feedback to refine your approach and tailor future events to better meet the needs and expectations of first-time attendees. Additionally, follow up with attendees after the event to thank them for their participation and encourage continued engagement with your organization.

Engaging with first-time attendees requires intentionality, empathy, and a commitment to creating inclusive environments. By implementing the strategies outlined above, meeting managers can count on cultivating meaningful connections for years to come. Remember, the first impression sets the tone for the entire event, so make it count!

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