During these times where laptops have replaced our desktop computers and iPhones make iPods useless items we once obsessed over, I think we’d all agree that keeping up with technology can be an exhausting, never-ending chase. Maybe this is a good time to stop chasing our shiny, new technologies, and think about what we shouldn’t be so quick to toss in the trash.
In the conference realm, more and more planners are posting their conference materials online creating a place where content is more accessible and findable for attendees. This is fantastic, but before jumping on the bandwagon, don’t forget about these useful conference materials that you may want to keep around. (AND when you’re through, make sure and check out these nine considerations to make before posting your conference materials online.)
Three conference materials you don’t want to ditch:
- Learning Journals/Conference Notebooks: Attendees appreciate having one place where they can take their personal and session notes, and find out where their next session is located. In a perfectly green world, we would all have paperless conferences, but let’s be serious, attendees still love these learning journals. Plus, there are definitely ways to spice up the ol’ conference notebook. Check out how ACVS combined their conference final program with a conference notebook (AND increased their ad sales doing it). With a conference notebook those problems involving internet access and battery life are out the window.
- Flash Drives: While flash drives are not used much anymore in everyday life, they work very well for conferences and meetings. With CD-ROM drives disappearing from laptops and $50 per user Wi-Fi at convention centers, flash drives are a great way to deliver content and have a little more control over access. By making all your content available on a conference website (even when password protected), people are still able to share passwords with each other. Sure, information on a flash drive can still be copied, but it’s definitely a lot more work than sharing a nine character password.
- CD-ROMS: Yes, I prefer to listen to my music via my iPhone versus a CD, but when it comes to conferences, CD-ROMS can be a great way to share a lot of information at a very low cost. Once again, worries regarding the internet and battery life are non-existent.
Ask yourself: What’s the most important part of your conference? Did you say the “The Attendees”? Regardless of your concerns to go green, be online, or cut costs… It’s all about creating the best experience for your attendees. Listen to them, give them what they want. If they want to take notes by hand, give them a learning journal. If they want to be able to access information without having to go on the internet, give it to them.
Your best option as a meeting planner is to give them options. By giving attendees their conference materials in multiple formats, they can choose what works best for them.
What’s your conference material “cocktail”?