You’ve spent time planning and preparing. You think everything is ready. How do you pull off an event that truly welcomes new people in the moment? In addition to a relevant and engaging program, there are little things you can do to let people know they belong and will benefit from joining your group.
Ways to make people feel welcome:
Have current members serve as greeters to smile and shake hands with everyone who comes through the door. These should be people who know your members well and can direct new people to someone they should meet.
Respect everyone’s time. Plan the program so that everything flows well from one item to the next and keep to the schedule.
At the beginning of the event, have a host welcome all non-members and first-time attendees and introduce them to the rest of the group. (The host can read names and have people wave or stand, or you can ask each person to introduce themselves and share who they are and what they do.)
Plan an ice breaker or two to get people talking. It can be fun or serious to match the type of event you are holding. (Examples: ask what they love about agri-marketing, what they want to get out of your event, their favorite city to visit and why or what their theme song should be.)
Make sure current members, especially chapter leaders, are engaging new people in conversation and asking for business cards to make follow up easier.