CREATING AUTHENTIC CONNECTIONS: Five strategies to improve the way you interact with customers at events.

Author:Semler, Shannon

Whether reaching out to a customer one-on-one or hosting a large convention; engagement and connection are vital to a long-lasting relationship. Here are five methods to rethink your connection strategy. Use these tips during IFA 2019, Feb. 24-27 in Las Vegas, and throughout at franchising community events and conferences throughout the year.

Method 1

Embrace Uniqueness: You Be You

In striving for perfection, event planners often sacrifice personality for polish. What your audience craves is both. Showcase what makes your company different and create ways to generate authentic content that gets to the real issues through purposeful interaction. Many groups are using interactive technology to build a high-energy and honest conversation in their meetings.

Does your organization have an initiative or an issue that would benefit from an authentic discussion at a live event? Rather than pre-programming everything to go smoothly, build in some suspense or even controversy to get participants engaged in a dialogue. Program formats such as debates, "rapid-fire" sessions, live customer focus groups, choose your own panel discussion adventures, and closed-door fish bowls are gaining in popularity for their ability to deliver new ways to look at topics.

Create a tailored experience for your audience, not a cookie cutter event. Tap into what makes you and them different - culture, operations, customer habits, branding - and provide a space to hold authentic two-way conversations on the issues that matter most to them. Seek out leaders with individuality and tap into their perspectives. Forget about trying to be shiny and perfect; what matters most to attendees and consumers is acknowledgement and having their voices heard.

Method 2

Be a Daredevil: Just Try

Sometimes we can overthink an idea and ultimately talk ourselves out of it. Whether testing the waters with a small marketing idea or diving headfirst into a new session concept for your event, take the results - good or bad - and alter or expand pieces to try again.

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Identify the areas of your event that would most benefit from a tweak or an additional investment of resources. Are you receiving feedback that sessions are nothing more than talking heads? Flip the script with the attendees doing a day-in-the-life role-playing exercise. Purposefully group attendees with diverse backgrounds and have them complete a task or project together. Incorporate...

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