Event Management & Data

How to Conduct Active Listening at Your Events

Victoria Rudi
September 12, 2019

Table of Contents

In this article we will discuss how companies can learn more about their leads (needs, wants, motivations, burning pains) by planning events and engaging in conversations with their attendees, by analyzing attendance data, setting up a follow-up strategy after the event, etc. 

What is active listening?

Active listening is a style of effective speaking and use of communication skills where the audience focuses on fully understanding the message before evaluating and responding to it.

Active listening: The key to a successful lead generation strategy

As a marketer, you know that listening skills are essential when conducting campaigns, planning events, and communicating effectively to your target audience. Effective communication is at the heart of everything we do.

We must communicate in a way that connects with our audience. Communication isn’t just about public speaking and writing; listening is one of the most important soft skills needed to do our job.

Active listening communication is typically an afterthought during the planning and execution stages of building a cohesive event marketing strategy. From start to finish effective communication and listening is vital when trying to generate leads and convert sales.

If you want to be successful in marketing, you need to learn how to build relationships and communicate with your customers, partners, stakeholders, vendors, and competitors.

Practicing active listening will allow you to sincerely listen to your target audience. You’ll understand what’s important to attendees which will enable you to plan a remarkable event.

Assess your current communication style

The first step is identifying areas for improvement. Take the time to think about your current approach to communication and listening to your target audience. Take ownership of what areas you can improve upon.

Take a step back and conduct a deep analysison your existing active listening style. This will help to improve your ability to communicate with your target audience. How good of a job are you doing at listening? The way you listen to people affects the way they, in turn, respond to you.

Ask effective questions

The second step is to develop an effective survey strategy. Surveys may seem like a simple task, but many marketers fail at this tactic by asking the wrong questions. Bad survey results could impact the quality of your event.

If you obtain the wrong type of data, you could end up planning an event that no one wants to attend again. This is why yoursurvey strategy is so important. Make sure to ask attendees open-ended questions before the event. By asking open-ended questions you’ll be able to get inside the head of the attendeesand better understand their wants and needs.

Opened ended questions create an opportunity for you to learn more about your audience. They can freely respond to each question openly and honestly. Surveys help build a rapport, uncover existing challenges, and articulate information about the target audience. Rather than talking, actively listen to the insight provided in the survey.

Identify customer pain points

Now that you have the survey data to pull from its time to identify your target audiences pain points. Identifying customer’s pain points is one of the keys to successful marketing.

That’s why active listening is so important. When you listen to your customers you are able to identify and understand the current problems they are trying to solve for. Remember that for every pain point there is a solution to the problem.

Once you have a good grasp on what your audience wants and needs you can begin working on the messaging and content for your event.

Engage in conversations

It’s important to engage attendees before, during, and post-event to keep the dialogue going and nurture them throughout the trade show or conference. Post on social media, send out personalized emails, host private networking events, and giveaway items at your booth. This helps build trust and loyalty through each interaction until they are ready to become a customer.

At this stage, it’s important to remember that every customer is a real person looking for a solution to a problem. When engaging with a prospective customer, it is critical that a person’svoice feels seen and heard.

This is when your sales and marketing teams need to take a minute to pause and engage in active listening. The intimate conversations at the booth or any network events are the ideal time to listen to the potential customers pain points. Paying full attention throughout the conversation keeps the focus entirely on the customer and ensures they know that you are fully ready to support their needs.

Analyze attendance data

Analytics are becoming an increasingly important role in event marketing. It’s the biggest source of data that provides insight on how your business can grow, sell, and retain customers. Forward-thinking brands are using data to improve lead generation and lead scoring tactics.

You want more leads so develop a tailor-made event strategy that is customized for your audience based on the historical data you already have. Request a previous attendance list and target past attendees with advertising and email campaigns based on the behavioral information you have about them.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Post trade show follow-up is often ignored. Which is unfortunate because your post-trade show communication is just as important at the pre-show communication. Now that you’ve engaged with prospective customers it’s essential that you follow up to let them know their voice has been heard.

Your post show communication strategy should be intimate and exciting. Each attendee post-show outreach should feel like your having 1:1 conversation rather than sending a generic sales email.

With active listening, marketers can start learning more about their target audience, uncover new data, discover pain points, and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with prospective customers. Remember to pause and listen before delivering a strategy.

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Victoria Rudi
Senior Content Specialist
With a Master’s degree in Event Management and a keen follower of SaaS technologies, Victoria is an event content master, producing insightful and valuable for Eventtia’s blog and beyond

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