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Dana's Meeting Minutes: Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners

Posted By Dana Saal, CMP, CAE, Saal Meeting Consulting, Friday, March 3, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

                        Three Tips and One Awesome Idea for Innovative Planners



Is your meeting audience as diverse as it could be? Have you really thought about who your meeting is designed for and whether you are reaching all potential registrants?

Thinking about this could increase your attendance (and income!) and enhance the level of expertise by broadening your list of participants.

Tip #1

List types of people/positions affiliated with your industry. For example, if you’re planning the Annual Convention of Dark Green Architects, your target audience is Dark Green Architects, but could also include:

·         their co-workers in other departments, e.g. light green architects, designers

·         professionals from affiliate industries, e.g. engineers, mortar specialists

·         academics and students from universities

Tip #2

Your association leadership is one of your target audiences.

You are primarily planning for Dark Green Architects, but your board and committee members may want/need a say in your meeting design, making them a target audience.

Tip #3

Plan only for your target audience.

Don’t toss in a session for non-target audiences in the hopes more people will show up. Be clear who you’re planning for and then plan well for them. That will increase attendance.

One Awesome Idea

Ask members what types of people help make them successful and then pursue them as future participants.

Ask them one or all of these questions:

1.      What types of people do you partner with in your job?

2.      What types of people would you like to connect with at the meeting?

3.      What is one type of person not with your same expertise who has influenced how you do your job?

Want More?

Check out this blog by Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw. He uses exhibitor satisfaction as the basis for target audience identification, but the concept supports all aspects of meeting planning.


Dana L. Saal, CMP, CAE, has been planning meetings for associations for more than 30 years. She recently decided that coaching meeting planners is now more fun than proofing BEOs, counting coffee cups and writing scripts. If you think a bit of coaching could improve your meeting, send a message via her website! (

Tags:  events  meeting planners  meeting tips 

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