10 Strategies to Maximize Event Participation (not just Attendance)

Social Media and our new sharing habits aren’t just changing conferences, they are changing how we experience and integrate  events into our lives.

Events are landmarks on our journey through life.

Events are turning points where you meet potentially amazing people, discover great content or simply change a perception or have an epiphany. We may not plan for this outcome, but it happens.

Consciously or subconsciously it is why we seek out events and human interaction.

Events have many forms:

  • Conference /Networking: Somewhere to gather to connect or learn
  • Seasonal / Historic / Religious: Easter, Christmas, Diwali, Passover etc
  • Personal: Birth, Death, Marriage, Anniversaries etc
  • Traditions: Valentine’s Day, St Patricks Day, Thanksgiving, Independence Day etc
  • Landmarks / Bookmarks: On-boarding / Off-boarding events e.g. Graduation ceremonies.

Events have many dimensions and continuums:

  • Physical vs Virtual
  • Planned vs Unplanned (unconferences)
  • Organizer run vs Community run
  • One-off / Flashmob vs Serial/Repeating
  • Paid vs Free
  • Largs vs Small
  • Mass vs Niché
  • Recorded Audio vs Recorded Video vs Photos vs  Not
  • Broadcast vs Not
  • Passive Consumption vs Active Participation

When you either plan to throw an event, or simply attend an event run by someone else,  think about where that event sits on these dimensions. What is the experience? What are the norms?

Just like music, books and social tools, there’s a huge choice of events, but I sense we are on an explosion of even more social gatherings. Social lets us find our niché audience. The number of potential events is heading to infinity.

How do we get the most business/personal value from the events we choose to attend?

Do you have an event strategy? Personally? Professionally?

Do we just attend conferences  or do we now expect to participate?

Today I choose events by how much I get to participate. I know I will learn more, share more, meet more people and therefore derive more value. The model of “one speaker to many static audience members” feels so dated.

Which is the best bit for you?

  • Before: The run up, the anticipation and the pre-networking
  • During: The actual moment of the event
  • After: The post event networking memories and sharing

I’m a strong believer in getting value from the full event window.

My perception of events has changed a lot since joining Listly as co-founder. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with some very creative people and I’ve seen them create experiences, memories and value by taking a fresh look at events. Here’s a collection of some of the people (in no particular order) who have changed how I perceive events:

They all have unique ways or running, attending, promoting, or extracting value from events.

Here’s 10 examples of strategies Listly users have implemented to help them get more value from their strategic investment in events. All these ideas came about  by people just experimenting.

Nick Kellet Nick Kellet
Listly Curator Listly Curator
Listly Listly
10 items   12 followers   1 votes   1.07k views

10 Strategies to Get More from Your Events & Conferences


Curate Quotes / Insights from an Event

Jun 27, 2013
Curate Quotes / Insights from an Event

You often hear some amazing quotes when you attend an event.

Share them as a list

Jun 27, 2013 - blog.list.ly - 147
Crowdsourcing Your Speakers

Break convention with traditional events and crowdsource your speakers just like TFT.

Here's a list of all the coverage that TFT13 received.


Sharing Speaker lists and Talk Outlines

Jun 27, 2013
Sharing Speaker lists and Talk Outlines

By making a list of your speakers, you can request people embed your list on their blog. If more people embed your lists then more people will learn about your event.

You don't need to wait for the organizer to make a list. You don't need permission. Simply make your list and start sharing it.

Here's a list from Content Marketing Word 2012 made by Andrew Davis

Andrew just made a new list for Content Marketing Word 2013


Creating Attendee Lists

Jun 27, 2013
Creating Attendee Lists

Organizers can create attendee lists, but some are resistant.

You don't need permission to create your own list. Share it and ask people to add themselves to the list.

eg Blissdom Attendees


Sharing Your Event Content

Jun 27, 2013
Sharing Your Event Content

Sharing the content for your event is something you can do to make it easy for people to share.

Sometimes the content is posted on each speaker's page on Slideshare, for example.

Making a list of the content across Slideshare, Prezi etc just makes it easier for more people to discover, embed and share it

eg IBM Connect2013 Sessions On SlideShare


Collecting Related Events in a Niché

Jun 27, 2013
Collecting Related Events in a Niché

There's always a collection of events you can attend in any given niché.

It's valuable to make and share a list so other's can contribute.

eg here's a list of digital analytics events


Collecting Events on the Same Date

Jun 27, 2013
Collecting Events on the Same Date

Perhaps there's a whole bunch of events in your city over Easter or for the 4th of July.

Here's an example in Texas


Sharing Books Featured at an Event

Jun 27, 2013
Sharing Books Featured at an Event

Perhaps you discover a whole bunch of great books as a result of attending an event.

Why not share them as a list

eg Books at #CMWORLD


Sharing Audio Files for Speakers

Jun 27, 2013
Sharing Audio Files for Speakers

Tools like Audioboo make it super simple to share what you hear at an event.

Collect your recording on a list like this example from Social Media Camp 2012


Share Pre-event Google Hangout Conversations

Jun 27, 2013
Share Pre-event Google Hangout Conversations

Gather a collection of conversations recorded via Google Hangout just like Jane Boyd did here.

Jane has turned making these conversations into a business opportunity.

Social, collaborative lists are a great way to organize, share and involve people in your conference experience.

Lists form memories just like videos, photos and podcasts.

Lists are the ultimate shareable media/memory collectors.

Tagging people on a list of would be speakers, tagging them as people “you know” or would “like to know” are all forms of social caring, social sharing and social proof.

social tagging - pre-event networking

If we don’t share moments in our life, we forget them.  When we share them, they become special memories. Sharing also elevates the people with whom we share an event. Sharing gives them a special and significant place in our lives. Sharing is how we learn, cope and filter.

Waiting to get to an event to see who is there is a missed opportunity. Not sharing your attendance repeatedly via social channels is a mistake. You have to give serendipity a chance.

Just like the number of possible events is set to explode, so is event attendance sharing. This is a shift in our cultural norms, which explains why tools like Plancast and Conferize are taking their time to reach mainstream adoption.

Sharing is how we attract people to our events and this happens before during and after each event. You don’t have to be an organizer to be a promoter. Sharing your attendance is a way of participating.

The full event window is now very long, which gives you more time to get value from your investment. When we choose an event, we should commit to it, we should choose to share it and we should choose to make it special.

Great events happen when other great people come too.

Not everyone has quite made this cultural value shift. ie attending event = promoting the event.

I believe Listly plays a significant role in amplifying your event choices and in helping you find your tribe and in building your personal brand. You have to give people the opportunity to find you too. You are not the only one seeking to maximise event attendance.

Those people who get it’s power, use Listly to amazing effect. Some know how to promote, attract and find their tribe. This is a skill I believe we are all actively learning.

  • Which is your favorite Listly strategy?
  • How do you get the most from events?
  • Who has changed your perceptions of events?
  • What tools are you using to enhance the lifetime value of every event you attend?

Image Credit : wwworks via Flickr.com and Creative Commons


NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.