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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

How to Speak Attendee

in: Attendee Experience


I may not know another language, but after over 20 years of participating in some way, shape or form in the meeting planning space, I have learned how to speak attendee. Today I thought I’d share with you translations of your what your attendees may actually be saying.

  • This event was better than I thought it would be! Translation: You may have missed some key marketing opportunities to share how truly amazing this event is.
  • It was quite a process to get here. Translation: Although the location may be out-of-this-world amazing, attendees want easily accessible locations with limited plane changes and public transportation options
  • I wish I could have talked to more people. Translation: Perhaps less events back-to-back would allow time for more networking opportunities.
  • Is there a Starbucks nearby? Translation: For most attendees, caffeine is a must so if budget permits, keep the coffee pot full
  • I must be more caught up on what’s going on than I thought. Translation: I had hoped to learn something new and would welcome more trending and updated content.
  • I’m having a tough time finding the breakout sessions. Translation: Possibly more signage is necessary; perhaps “human arrows” can be deployed between sessions to assist or the app needs to be updated
  • It was standing-room-only! Translation: Please ensure adequate seating is available in each session. Sometimes a hot topic will require a larger room, or if that’s not possible, additional seating as the room fills up – request the venue be ready at a moment’s notice to add seating
  • Did you send that in an email or ??? Translation: In order to reach your audience, multiple avenues of communication are important, including e-mail, social media, an app, website
  • So sorry I had to skip out early. Translation: the speakers and content need to be so not-to-be-missed that I stay until the very end. If you have speakers that may not be quite as popular, consider “staggering” their sessions throughout the conference to ensure attendees don’t “skip out”
  • I wish I could get to a bit of work done while here. Translation: Everyone is so busy that if you can, schedule some “on own” time for your attendees to catch up on some work or explore the fascinating destination you’ve provided
  • I need to answer some emails, but I cannot seem to connect. Translation: The wi-fi is not adequate for all 5 of my devices to connect at once. Perhaps a cyber café or meeting room wi-fi could be a sponsorship opportunity if your budget doesn’t permit to pay for increased bandwidth. Make sure the venue knows the amount of bandwidth your attendees require by using this handy-dandy website.

Listen to your attendees. If more than a few speak out loud about something, then give it your attention and course correct. As well, some of these thoughts should be shared with the venue, as they may need to step it up a bit. Yes, meeting planners, we are always learning and always improving, it’s all a part of our positive growth in doing what we do so well!

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