What Makes A Great Event? 6 Tips for #EventProfs
From sourcing the right venue to choosing the best mobile event app to the speaker to the connections built - of the many different things that event professionals are tasked with, what exactly makes great events, great? Here are 6 tips:
Connections are powerful. They are also an important component of events and meetings. Attendees, vendors, exhibitors, and meeting and event planners are building and connecting while at events - and it's important that any variety of connections that are built at events and meetings - come away in a positive, memorable experience.
Whether an event has multiple keynote speakers, or one - great events have great speakers. great speakers support the meaning behind the event. They are able to agree and follow the speaker guidelines presented by the event professional planning the event, while also incorporating a meaningful experience, story or message of their own within the guidelines.
Great events don't polarize - and it's essential that speakers at events aren't polarizing. Make sure that proper guidelines are set for speakers and that the speaker's background, prior speaking engagements, and experience are fully understood!
If you are looking for suggestions in choosing the right event speaker, check out the tips here.
3. Extra Activities
Not every meeting or event will allow time for additional activities during the actual event (though some will!) However, it is important to create and cultivate experiences through extra activities. Fun, engaging, and memorable activities allow connections that may not have been built or nurtured, to do exactly that. It also allows attendees to experience the event in a positive manner - meaning walking away thinking it was a great event!
Consider adding 'out of the box' event activities: pre-event 5k, morning group yoga sessions, volunteer opportunities to support the local community of the venue, etc.
4. Location & Venue
Where an event takes place matters. A lot. If the majority of event attendees are located on the east coast, odds are they aren't going to want to spend 5 hours on an airplane to travel to across the country for a mandatory meeting or event. Unless the location is really awesome!
Understand where the majority of attendees will be traveling from, and choose locations wisely based on that.
While some may argue that venue sourcing should come before location sourcing - whichever an event professional chooses to do first, it is important to be mindful of what the venue will offer to ensure that an event is great. Will WiFi be included in the venue cost and will it be strong enough for the number of attendees? (Unique Venues has a great checklist for what to remember when sourcing a venue.)
Great location and great venue selection will lead to happy attendees, vendors, and contribute to making a great event!
Information is imperative for an event to be successful. Make sure attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, and staff on site are prepared for what is available, to occur, and what to expect prior to the event. Continue the awareness and sharing of information on the site, as well as after the event.
If an event is going to have extra activities, let attendees know. If an event is going to have a mobile event app, let attendees know. If there are going to be special opportunities - breakout sessions, workshops, meeting appointments, etc. - let attendees know! Information is valuable.
6. Onsite Experience
With the hours and hours that event professionals put into planning events and meetings, sometimes the most important aspects of an event, are overlooked.
No attendee wants to wait two hours in a registration and badge line (MeetingPlay has an onsite badge remittance experience that can help with that!) Nor does an attendee want to be lost, or have questions about the event app, or any other concerns or comments - and be unable to find any event professional to ask for help or guidance. Remember that on-site experiences make events great, and onsite support and staff is absolutely essential!
Great events come with great planning! Plan before, during, and after the event extensively. Plan for 'just in case solutions' - so any fires can be quickly put out. And most importantly - continue the momentum after the event, so attendees feel valued. Attendees who feel valued will walk away with a greater appreciation of the event! Send post event surveys to attendees, share information about upcoming events so attendees can prepare in advance, stay connected with the event hashtag, etc.
Here's to successful, GREAT events!