Gravity Attracts Attendees To Your Conferences

Gravity. It’s such a constant force in our lives that we rarely marvel at it.

We forget that it’s at work daily.

Toss a ball in the air and it falls to the ground. Step on a scale and…uh, oh, time to run an extra 20 minutes.

Without it, we’d float off into the atmosphere. And so would all matter too.

Gravity causes any two forces in the universe to be drawn to each other. Isaac Newton defined gravity as a force–one that attracts all objects to all other objects.

So how do we attract attendees to our conferences and events? What draws them to come? Is it gravity or is there something intentional we can do to appeal to them?

IMB’s Steve Rae theorizes three gravitational forces that attract people to informal learning experiences. I think these apply to conferences education both informal and formal as well.

1) Access
The potential conference attendee has to know the learning opportunity exists, the costs are reasonable and it fits the learner’s requirements. (Translation: the conference content is approved by senior management as applicable to the job and worth the corporation’s investment.) The conference attendee is attracted by the active learning experience and not passive spoon-feeding…unless they are industry novices.

2) Quality
The production, ease of use, what the learner is looking for, relevancy, collegiality and forward-thinking learning experiences.

3) Walkaway Value
This includes the WIIFM (what’s in it for me), timeliness, time savings, economic value, expansion of professional network, participation and consequences for not learning. We often call it the take-away.

Rae posits that the walkaway value accounts for 60% of the gravitational pull to informal learning. I submit it’s probably close to the same for the conference attendee. He further suggests that these three forces pinpoint the Achilles heel of an informal learning initiative 80% of the time.

How do these three gravitational forces apply to your conference planning and marketing efforts? How can conference organizers engineer more informal learning experiences that lead to curiosity and creativity…and ultimately gravitational pull? What other forces have you identified that attract people to your conference?

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  1. Roger Wilson says:

    Guys – Thanks for the post. This may fit under your WIFM category but I’d add fear, fun and future opportunity. People who go to conferences don’t want to be left behind, they want to enjoy themselves and they are often looking ahead to their next job.

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