Event planning can transform even the toughest organiser into a quivering wreck, such is the stress involved in successful business event management. Regardless attendees heading to a networking event, business meeting or trade show still expect a unique, positive experience from the event and it can be an effective way for businesses to create relationships, follow up leads and make sales.
As a result, it’s integral the event manager has the right tools at their disposal in order to make their event special and successful. Here’s a handful of tips that should help organisers on their way to reaching their event goals.
First of all, organisers need to consider the look and feel of their event. What type of event are you holding? Who is your target market? What is the reason for the event? What are the event’s goals? Ask yourself these questions and note down one or two sentences for each.
With this, you’ll be able to formulate an effective plan with which to work. Areas of the plan to think about include: budget, venue, date, sponsors (if any), guest speakers, ticket sales, refreshments and follow-up materials.
Like any event you’re trying to organise, there is an air of inevitability that the event will not go exactly to plan. However, preparing for things to go slightly off course – speaker delays, not enough chairs to accommodate guests…etc. – will give you a little ‘wiggle room’ to work from.
You may have a large budget and a buffet cooked by the finest chefs but guests won’t turn up to your event if they aren’t going to come away with some form of new information or action point.
As a result, it’s worth hiring a good-quality speaker – either from within the company or a guest speaker from your industry – in order to lend credibility to the event. Guests will be intrigued to hear from an industry-leading professional and the opportunity to network may be too good to pass up.
Furthermore, speakers will be keen to highlight they are speaking at a major event and can inadvertently market your entire event through their social media channels, emails and other marketing platforms. This opens up your event to a whole new market.
Change of pace
We’ve all been in meetings that felt like they will never finish. From monotonous speakers to dull subject matter, there is nothing worse than a one-dimensional event. You’ll know if your event isn’t hitting the sport when guests start to leave early or don’t opt-in to events in the future.
Truly interesting meetings and events need to keep changing the pace. Open the event with a quiz or a knowledge test. Try following a 15-minute speech with a 45 minute round-table filled with experts. Throw in a scheduled team-building activity during the afternoon when people are weary after lunch.
The point is: keep changing the momentum of your event if you want to keep your guests’ attention.
These tips could all be in vain if organisers don’t find a venue suitable for their event. Furthermore, the location of the event can be critical in attracting guests; a venue in the middle-of-nowhere tends to be difficult to get to whereas a conference venue with good transport links in a city is much easier to reach.
The venue also needs to have the right facilities to accommodate your event. Is there enough room capacity to hold your guests? Are sound/lights provided? Will the décor fit in with your event’s theme? Are there facilities to accommodate those with special requirements? Does the venue provide food and drink? Will there be technical staff on hand to help with any issues? Always ask as many questions as possible to the venue manager so you don’t encounter any unexpected surprises come the day of the event.
The event does not end when guests filter out of the venue. The follow up is as important – if not more – than the event itself and it can pay dividends if the event made the right impression in the first place.
Give guests a call, send them an email, contact them via social media; the direct approach can be incredibly effective when following up a lead. If you didn’t manage to secure a phone number or Twitter handle, post event photo/videos on your business website. Send out a news release or send thank you notes to the business address of your guests.
The worst thing you can do is: nothing!