Memo to groups: Hosting an event? Here’s what to do

Monday, March 31, 2008

A January article talked about how some state HME associations have been having trouble drawing attendees to meetings and seminars. I’ve seen the same thing and have a few ideas on how state associations may improve on this.
4 Consider less luxurious venues (or at least deeply, deeply discounted room rates) that will encourage owners to attend and bring more staff. A jam-packed Holiday Inn beats an empty Ritz Carlton any day of the week.
4 Change-up conference content to focus more on some of the following topics: legislative and regulatory, billing and reimbursement, accreditation and competitive bidding, staffing and human resources, business growth and succession planning, leadership development and strategy, or some other focused topic/issue—rather than a little bit of everything. This will help owners decide who should attend and vary the staff participation.
4 Change speaker line-up. Don’t have the same speaker in more than two back-to-back conferences, no matter how good he or she is. If owners think a conference is the same old thing, they’ll be less likely to attend.
4 Set aside budget dollars for at least one professional speaker (someone who earns a living at the craft) at each event. Amateurs reading/clicking through 79 PowerPoint slides does not a great session make.
4 Limit the agenda to two days or less. Less time out of the office makes it easier for owners to justify and bring/send more staff.

Vince Crew, founder
REACH Development Services