David Keith
Vice President of Operations National Religious Broadcasters Manassas, Va.

We're actually expanding our emphasis through our conference to reach the next generation of broadcasters. It's not proven, but from feedback we are receiving, it's a positive move.

We're kind of changing the face of the organization to allow another program to lie alongside our existing program. It's really a miniconference starting a day before the main conference and dovetailing into the existing program. It maximizes the time of individuals who are already coming to the conference. We have a well-established exhibition, so it allows them to participate in that. Participants can buy into one or both conferences.

Edward Edelstein
Executive Director Jewish Educators Assembly East Hills, N.Y.

The big thing we have developed further is taking a portion of the conference outside the hotel, rather than spending 3½ days in the same building. People enjoy the change of scenery, the change of venue. We go to an educational setting, such as a school or museum. It has been a big, constructive change.

We've gone this direction because the same setting gets stale. I've felt that same way as a meeting designer. You may have six dynamic speakers, but no matter how different they are, by the end of the six, they all blur together. Getting out is part of the whole experience. Attendees get to see some local color, and sometimes we're able to maximize the kind of speakers by bringing the conference to them. They may be able to take an hour to talk with us, where if they have to travel to our site, it may end up being half a day.

We find that it enriches the experience.

Mercedes Gutierrez
Events Coordinator Archdiocese of Denver Denver, Colo.

For the past two years that I've been in this job, I've had a pro forma for each event, and at the end is an evaluation that I use to build on for future years. My pro forma has all my contact information, but at the end I have 10 questions I make sure I ask myself.

A lot are logistical questions, post-event follow-ups, really: Did I collect the evaluations so I can update the attendance list and follow up with those who were there and those who were not What was the cost, and what improvements do I make for next year?

Donna Ozmun
Director Lutheran Financial Managers Association Northfield, Minn.

I'm doing more communicating and reminding by e-mail. That has really just come about in the past few years. For example, I'm doing more reminding about upcoming hotel registration deadlines, and more of the conference followup, electronically. From our last meeting, peer questions were submitted, and I sent an e-mail seeking responses. Then everyone was able to reply to the whole group.

It works because we're small; it probably wouldn't work with larger groups. There are some savings, but it's more that it just gives us the opportunity to remind people, to get our name out without additional mailings.

Darren Tipton
Training Specialist North American Mission Board Southern Baptist Convention Fairview, N.C.

One thing that we do better, once our people have enrolled, is personalization of the follow-up and confirmation.

We do a telephone follow-up and then an e-mail letter asking if they have the information they need. We e-mail a map and directions, and three days before the conference, I follow up with a letter with any changes, and include airport information and my cell-phone number.

People want personalization. It takes a little time to send letters and e-mails. But with many of the things you do these days, it seems the response is impersonal. This makes attendees feel like “I'm important to them.”