Can a meeting be enough to turn an association around? It sure can be a strong factor, says Kevin Holland on The Association Blog. But (and this is a big "but") it has to do two things to swing it. He says, talking about the ASAE conference that just wrapped up, it has to succeed in
- 1) Creating an impact on the people who were there, and
2) Making that impact so hard that it created â€buzzâ€ like shockwaves that will emanate from the center of the meeting to the rest of the [in ASAE's case] association community
Your meeting hopefully does the first, or no one would come. But does what happens at your conference create buzz outside of the convention center? Are your industry bloggers yapping about the keynotes? Are people e-mailing and calling each other to discuss a session? Are your industry's magazines and Web sites reporting on the meeting? Is even the mainstream press reporting on something you did, or something that was revealed at the meeting? The last one would be a real buzz-masterstroke, granted one that few can achieve outside of tech and medical conferences, where the whole world wants to hear about new gadgets and healthcare procedures.
Anyway, Kevin says a Level 2 event catapulted his organization, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) out of the doldrums it was suffering under new leadership that came after what he calls "both after a wrenching and politically touchy restructuring that followed years of declining membership," and was held just a few months after 9/11. They put everything they had into it and, according to him, it was the beginning of a whole new era.
The power of meetings=pleasing loyal members. The power of really good meetings=energizing an entire organization and membership base. The only problem with doing a Level 2 event is doing it again next year, and the next, continually topping yourself as expectations rise.