As professionals we get invited to many business events throughout the year. So the next time you attend an event, why not take the time to think about the planning behind it: The branded invitation emails you received with the convincing message about why you personally should attend; the badges with your name and job title spelt correctly that were neatly put out on the registration table in alphabetical order, the table plan, etc, etc...
Someone has spent months planning the event! This was my responsibility at the beginning of 2016 as we planned for our Visualfiles Share and InterAction Share events.
Running a successful event is not a dark art, but it does require amazing attention to detail and meticulous organisational skills. If everything goes off without a glitch, the event appears to happen as if by magic. But if something goes wrong that is when you risk alienating the very audience you are trying to impress and engage with. So given my many years of running events, I thought the following five top tips might be useful to anyone about to start planning one.
Five Top Tips
- Create an event plan - Create a detailed event plan that clearly states everything about the event including the objectives, budget and expected ROI. Share this with all the stakeholders and ensure you keep it up-to-date. The event plan should be something someone can pick up and run with if you are not around.
- Ensure your data is correct – Link the data in your CRM system to your email system. Decide who your target audience is and why they should attend the event. Identify any other activities that are happening with each client/prospect. Above all, make sure you have their correct name and job title.
- Select your venue carefully - A venue can make or break an event. After all, everyone always remembers the food and refreshments!
- Produce an interesting agenda - Understand your audience, what topics/business issues they want to hear about and how your company can help them with these.
- Evaluate attendees’ experiences - Ensure you get feedback from both the internal and external people that attended (the highlights and lowlights). Also, don't forget to ask attendees if anyone else from their organisation should have attended and if you can add them to your CRM system for future communications. Use this evaluation to help plan subsequent events.
So, in summary, have a plan, use your CRM system to target the right people, have a venue that’s fit for the event, talk about the right things and keep learning from every event you organise.