“Event” can sometimes a catch-all term, however in a Holistic sense, you may wish to consider them as something people go to for the purpose of entertainment or information. They also usually have a larger attendance and be something that people would buy a ticket for.
Informational events are typically lectures, panel discussions or talks on a topic, whereas entertainment ones usually have more variety on offer. This could include demonstrations, displays, stalls, talks, food and beverage service, and items to purchase while attending.
When should you choose this format?
Events are a great way to get like-minded people together, people who want to know about or enjoy the theme of your event – so they are great to use when you want to build a community. When your attendees are stimulated and inspired, they will interact and share with each other, and feel part of your event.
You should also choose this format when you want a high degree of engagement from your audience. Whether it is for entertainment or information purposes, you will want your attendees to have fun and enjoy the day and come away inspired by what they have seen or learned.
Events are also a great way to give value to guests, without a ‘salesy’ feel. It is easy for people to accept your invitation when they perceive there is high value in attending. Because they would genuinely be interested in attending for the content on offer, it is an indirect way to provide insight to your business, without a direct sales approach.
Events are also great when you are looking to increase customer leads. People love to go to events together, so encourage your guests to bring people they feel would also enjoy the content. This can provide you with new contacts to follow up with.
You may follow up before hand to confirm if they will be attending, and afterwards to thank them for attending. You could further follow up follow up with photos of them from the event, delighting them further with a personal touch. You have now taken them from a cold contact to a warm lead.
What are the benefits and challenges?
One of the main benefits of hosting event is that you connect your brand and your service, with an enjoyable experience, which your guests are likely to share with their friends. And should you repeat the event, say every quarter or year, you will have many happy customers to spread the word for you and bring more people along.
Events can have a lot of moving parts, so they require a great deal of planning, as well as on the day coordination. If planning and organisation are not your strong points, then you should enlist the help of event planners or managers to really make your day a success.
Another key benefit is that an event allows you to explore creative ways in sharing your business and services with a new community. However, once you have done the inspired thinking to outline what your event will entail, do check it is feasible. You may come up with amazing ideas for your event, but if they are not practical, or are too costly, you will run into problems in the planning stage. Consider what is essential to your theme and your audience to decide how you can best use the time and money.
What makes an event successful?
1. Ask the 5 W’s
- Why are you putting on the event?
- What will your event entail and what activities will you put on?
- Who is the event for, and how will you please them?
- Where should the event take place?
- When should the event take place?
Also consider how each of these will affect the outcome you want you want from your theme and for your audience.
2. Choose your format
When you have a deep understanding of your theme, and what you want the event to entail, you can start to determine how the event will take place: online events, open-air events, panels and speaker events, stall and demonstrations – the list is endless.
But the key is to make sure the format helps to achieve the goal of the event. Knowing the format will aid your planning and delivery as it influences the event concept, timing and duration, role distribution within the team, the layout of the hall, technology required, catering and sound.
3. Choose your venue wisely – and know about it
Do not underestimate the selection of the venue to match with your event theme and format. It can make or break your day. This applies both the virtual and to physical events. You should become familiar with what you select, to ensure you plan appropriately and to ensure your event well with it on the day.
For technology, this includes selecting the right online platform to host it, particularly if you want to record it, have multiple speakers, audience break out rooms, private access, have a question and answer session, have voting or other interactions. Guest we be easily frustrated if the technology impacts their ability to engage with the event, so make sure you know how to use it in the way that supports your event and can troubleshoot easily if problems occur.
Physical events require you to consider the space available, the layout and floor plan, whether toilets or other facilities are present, how people will gain entry. The venue really can impact the guest enjoyment on the day so choose wisely, and do not forget the little things - good coffee and food, staff that takes ownership and fast Wi-Fi!
4. Detailed planning
When planning an event, you must consider everything from the event schedule, venue and logistics, guest list, catering, entertainment, set up/take down times, marketing, promotions, and ticketing. Because there is so much to consider, the best way to get tackle is to break it all down into manageable chunks.
Start by creating a document which can be shared with anyone assisting you. Its important that everyone can see the tasks of each other and the bigger picture. Google templates or programmes like Asana and Trello are great for shared online access.
Start by preparing a list of the main tasks, and then flesh them out in as much detail as possible in identify the specific steps that must be completed. You must add the time required for completing a task and its due date to ensure you are ready in time – do not underestimated the preparation required and remember it may goes slow than you expected.
5. Your budget
When going through your plan, consider which items will cost money and estimate how much you expect them to cost. Make sure you plan well within the total budget you wish to spend on the event as unexpected costs can arise. You may find something cost more than expected, or you hadn’t anticipated a task in the plan and it will require funding, and of course, there can always be unforeseeable situations, so best to have a reserve.
6. On the Day Coordination
On the day itself, you will need to pull all the elements together and oversee the entire production. From start to finish, you need to ensure each aspect of the event, is ready, in place and will deliver on time. Be at the venue/online as early as possible so that you can get everything in place. Check and double check everything as this is the point at which you can make any last-minute changes if needed. As the event proceeds, make sure you are tuned in to the schedule of the day, and are checking each item is ready before its time slot.
Lastly remember to smile and breathe! It is inevitable that problems will arise, so no need to panic. Just make sure you keep an eye out to spot them early so you can rectify them as best as you can. Most likely, know one will even notice that there was an issue, if you keep calm.