Birthdays, graduations, holidays, weddings. These celebrations bring on gifts from family and friends.
Think about some of the gifts you've ever received...
Card + Check: Well intended and flexible, but probably not one that would make your best gifts list.
Item from a Gift Registry: Definitely something you wanted, but where's the surprise?
(Bridal and baby showers aren't as much fun as they used to be... You watch the guest of honor open gift after gift, straight from the registry. I love it when somebody ventures off the registry list and brings something imaginative and special.)
- An expensive item delivered by a posh store: Thoughtful and even extravagant ("Gosh, you shouldn't have"), but it's hard to warm up to an item delivered by UPS with a computer-generated greeting.
Truth be told, I'll bet your favorite gifts weren't necessarily expensive, flexible or something checked off a wish list. No, I'll bet your favorite gifts were a surprising discovery that someone listened, paid attention and noticed something about YOU.
Best gifts are often delivered face-to-face. If not face-to-face, there's a handwritten note that makes you feel special and appreciated. One of my favorite gifts was a handwritten note, all on its own.
Seeing Your Conference as a Gift Giving Occasion
Your annual conference is an outstanding opportunity to shower your attendees with treasured items. Gifts that are helpful, valued - but also fun and surprising. Things they'd never find elsewhere.
If you're that thoughtful a gift giver with family and friends, you're already applying that talent as you design your conferences. If not, don't worry. It's a skill that can be developed (I'm living proof of that!).
Sure, you'll have to follow your audience's "registry" and cover the expected items. They expect learning and networking, but what if you "wrap" these gifts in more imaginative ways? What if you go a little crazy and deliver these important elements in a different (and more effective) manner?
AND what if you include just one unexpected surprise that shows you've been listening, thinking and you're determined to go the extra mile to surprise and delight your guests?
Thanks to technology (mobile apps, data capture, analytics, etc.), thoughtful touches for the masses are well within your reach and not as time-consuming as you'd think.
"Sally, we noticed you participated in the XYZ workshop last February. We'd love to have you join us for the ABC event, where we'll take that experience even further."
How hard was that?
(photo by sparkieblues via Flickr)