Applying an Audience Perspective to NFPA Conferences

A couple weeks ago I attended the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Annual Conference in Napa, CA. This was an excellent, well-run conference, and it’s helpful to experience events from a participant’s point of view as we prepare for NFPA’s own Annual Conference in March—thanks AEM.

Here are a couple items from the AEM Conference that can be applied to our Annual Conference:

  • Audience participants were able to text questions that the presenter then read from a screen. It saved time, because the questions got to the speaker instantly, without staff climbing over and between people to get to someone’s raised hand with a microphone. And nobody had to yell at a presenter to repeat a question the audience couldn’t hear. We’re going to check with our audio-visual provider about doing this.
  • Afternoon breakout and workshop sessions. We should consider this to get more value from speakers—they typically make themselves available for a full day, but we often use them for a relatively short general-session slot. A workshop that gets members interacting might also help new attendees connect with other members—a high priority issue discussed at a recent NFPA Board of Directors meeting.

For more information, contact Pete Alles, palles@nfpa.com.

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