Is Your Annual Meeting Like a Political Convention?
Ok, I know you don’t want to talk about the 2016 political season, but keep reading.
I want you to think about what will make the 2016 political conventions must-watch, must-attend, must-discuss experiences.
Let me point out the five most compelling reasons both conventions will be so interesting:
- Anticipation. There is no doubt that even if you are completely sick of the noise, fighting, drama and devolution of the American political process, you still want to know what is going to happen before the convention doors are even open.
- Suspense. Once the proceedings are underway, you will watch to see what is said, who supports who, who makes a speech that inspires us and who is positioning for vice president.
- Controversy. Yes, it will continue. Get all of those fired-up delegates, big contributors, PACs and activists together, and there will be debate, arguing, friction and controversy.
- An outcome. When the convention is over in Cleveland and they turn out the lights in the Wells Fargo Center in Philly, there will be a nominee. There will be closure. There will be a decision. Like it or not, we will know who we can vote for on November 8, our nation’s 58th presidential election.
- The media. No reality show can compare to the hype, coverage, pundit pontificating or full-bleed saturation of media frenzy that will be upon us like a swarm of biblical locusts. Brace for impact.
What does any of this have to do with your association’s annual meeting? Everything.
Your event is very much like a political convention. It’s your opportunity to bring all of your constituents, delegates, leaders and activists together – as well as fresh blood, new members, new advocates and everyone who wants to meet with them. It creates the perfect environment to offer new products and services; to debate, connect, learn, vote and decide how to be better; and to discuss how to advance their organizations, the industry, the profession and their careers.
What if, at your next event, you:
- build anticipation – host a Startup Showdown where inventors compete for funding from investors in a head-to-head battle?
- create suspense – promise a surprise guest speaker or an announcement of a new product introduction?
- stimulate controversy – host a debate between two industry leaders known for being on different sides of an issue?
- have an outcome – dedicate resources so that the audience at your event produces something collectively? (For example, the Pantone Color Institute comes together and creates 30 new colors at their event.)
- energize the media – host a media dinner at a competitive event, get them on the inside and offer them access at your event?
Make your next annual meeting an example for your industry. Show them how it’s done. Show them what honest dialogue, meaningful conversations, civil debate and a real bi-partisan buyer/seller, teacher/student, old-guard member and hotshot new millennial can do when they come together at your organization’s very own “political convention.”
Show the Democrats and Republicans what a great event looks like.