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www.smallmarketmeetings.com www.sma ll mar k etmeet i ngs.com Conference Report 8 T he Small Market Meetings Conference always presents top experts in fields related to meetings. Attendees at this year's conference in Huntsville, Alabama, heard from speakers who taught them about networking, marketing, contracts and tech- nology. Shawna Suckow, a buyer behavior expert, asked delegates a question. "How many of you are sitting next to someone you already know? It's easy to do that. We look for people who are like us in some way because we feel safer." Suckow said that most meeting attendees who are surveyed rank community or net- working as their No. 1 reason for attending conferences. She encouraged attendees to adopt a "tribes" mentality and to meet and talk with many people. "My theory, based on research, is that if everyone at a conference meets eight new people, a lot of good things can happen," she said. "Overall satisfaction with a conference goes up." Jonah Berger, author and expert on word- of-mouth promotion and how things catch on, delivered the keynote address. "Word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of traditional advertising," Berger advised delegates. "Not just TV or radio spots or a company-generated piece of communi- By Dan Dickson we could use others to do the work for us?" Berger shared the example of preview cop- ies of books that he frequently receives from publishers. He once received two copies of the same book and was asked to give a copy to someone he thought would enjoy it. He ended up doing the word-of-mouth work for the author. Uber did a free holiday ride pro- motion last year and asked users to offer a free ride to someone in their social network. Shawna Suckow wows the crowd at her return engagement in Huntsville. C o n f e r e n c e S p e a k e r s Conference Speakers O f f e r M e e t i n g s E d u c a t i o n Offer Meetings Education October 2-4, 2016 O b 2 4 2016 O b 2 4 201 6 cation like a print ad, mailed brochure, booth at a conference, website or a testimonial. A dollar spent on word of mouth goes 10 times as far as a dollar spent on traditional adver- tising." Word of mouth from people you know and rely on helps. "We trust our friends or col- leagues much more than regular advertising," he said. "Rather than us guessing who to reach out to through word of mouth, what if