I’ve worked with conventions and meetings for about nine years now, whether it’s managing registration and membership, coordinating vendors, or scheduling speakers and sessions. That’s just a constant of all volunteer associations when it comes to events of such size: It’s all hands on deck, and everyone wears lots of hats.
However, another constant of conventions and meetings is that their largest competitors aren’t necessarily one another — that is, one conference competing against others for attendees.
Rather, the biggest competition is simply a lack of awareness.
Awareness Raised about the TCEA 2020 Convention
I can’t begin to count the number of times I visited members and constituents and mentioned an event we were planning – an event that was often years in the making, the product of countless volunteer hours and staff work, supported by a months-long marketing campaign — only to be met with a blank stare and the comment “So… What is that, now?”
Really, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. People are living their own lives, and they aren’t waiting with bated breath for news of the next conference taking place here or there. And due to the eruption of technologies and media, we have more choices than ever for what to do with our time. Add to that here’s more competition for those choices, meaning it’s easy to get lost in the crush of marketing noise.
What is surprising, though, is that TCEA is different. Since I joined TCEA as Director of Membership and Engagement, I’ve noticed that the buzz surrounding our marquee event is substantial.
“I Love Your Convention!”
For example, I was at an educational event and trade show recently and was stationed in our TCEA booth to meet with attendees and let them know a little about who we are and what we do and to mention our upcoming convention to folks who might be interested. However, time and time again, I had no opportunity to do this. Because almost all the people who came to my booth already knew all about the TCEA convention – and had nothing but glowing things to say about it.
“I love your convention!” one attendee said. “I’m going this spring!” Others said they were sending their staff in their place, and were, quite frankly, a little jealous. Still others said they couldn’t make it this year, but dutifully took notes on where the convention would be taking place next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
This left me more than a little perplexed. This was not, in my experience, how things were supposed to go. I was supposed to talk with people, bring up the convention, be met with polite but mild bafflement, and hand them a little pamphlet in case they wanted to learn more. What was not supposed to happen was for all these attendees to know a lot more about the convention than I did, and be eager to learn more.
What the Buzz Is All About
The upcoming TCEA 2020 Convention, February 3–7, will be my first here at TCEA. I have to say, I’m definitely looking forward to learning what all the excitement is about. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting to meet face-to-face with thousands of dedicated and energized educators. If they’re this excited, how can I not be?
If you’re curious about TCEA 2020, don’t worry; there’s still time to register. Check out all the ways to learn and grow on our convention web page, and when you’re ready, make sure you’re registered. I look forward to seeing you there!
Photo: Spencer Selvidge