Every year more and more events take place and understandably attendees are continuing to feel event fatigue; turning up to (at best) average events. Most of our organisations and our managers are continuing to question the return on investment and the value of business events. Everyone should be thinking if they are going to attend an event which one should it be? As assistants we filter through hundreds of requests for our managers to attend conferences throughout the year. How do we know which emails or brochures to put in front of them? If we had more information would we go so far as to actually recommend a conference for them?
I’ve asked William Thomson, from Gallus Events, to highlight the characteristics of a great event. These will allow you to suggest which events your boss should attend in 2014.
Not all events are the same. Events that display some of the points below will be the stand out events in any industry and the ones that attendees and businesses should support.
Too many events still promote and engage only through the written word. The cutting edge events will use pictures and videos to promote the event and engage the audience. This commitment to content before the event is likely to be reflected in the delivery of great content during the event.
2. Is there a conversation?
Great events sit at the heart of a wider conversation. The cutting edge events will focus on conversations building around the issues covered at the event. They will be using technology and social media platforms to curate these conversations.
3. Expect more from speakers
The content at events is crucial. This is of course obvious for conferences but with exhibitions now developing into massive content hubs it is crucially important that every event with content also has meaningful engagement from the speakers who deliver that content.
4. Creating moments to share
Great events will create moments that attendees want to share via social media and word of mouth. They will have interesting, engaging and exciting things happening on site and in the lead up to the event. They will be concentrating on their attendees desire to share great content and creating amazing experiences.
5. Engage all of the senses
The events that your boss should attend will look, feel, sound, taste and smell like great events. The organisers will have considered the differences in how people engage with each other and with content and will have texturised the event. Events with their own theme tunes, smells and brand evidence their desire to create something special and memorable. Attend these events.
6. White space
With every event there is the temptation to cram as much into the day as possible. But great familiarisation trips and away days will allow your boss time to reflect; great conferences will have time to assimilate the content and the top exhibitions will have time between meetings for your boss to ponder the options available. Creating some down time is exceptionally crucial for events to deliver maximum value. White space is key in the thinking event.
7. Social Media to amplify content
Event Organisers have quite rightly jumped on the back of Social Media to help them promote their events and they must do the same to use it to amplify the important messages and content from their events. The events that are thinking big will be using the power of Social Media to connect well beyond the physical confines of the event.
8. The event life cycle
The events for your boss to attend will want to keep in touch: not just a few weeks before the event but months before and months after. They will truly value your boss’s engagement and they will want to make sure you get value from the physical attendance before and after. If you only hear from the events they normally attend when they want money find some true love for your boss elsewhere.
9. What is the environment?
The fantastic events will be choosing great venues and they will be ensuring that the environment and the atmosphere supports that event. No one should attend events in boring, lightless and soulless basement hotel rooms. The great events will understand the importance of the environment in supporting your manager’s objectives. Events for networking will be in informal and fun spaces. Conferences will be in spaces that support creativity and remove any stress from the experience. Exhibitions will be removing the barriers that stifle interaction. Look out for creative events in creative spaces.
10. Personalise the experience
At the exceptional events, your boss will be made to feel special. They will have an experience that they can tailor. They will not be harangued into sessions if they are doing business and they will not be told when to have coffee. They will have control of their own experience and they will be creating that experience.
Events that include some of the above will be the events that are stealing everyone else’s audiences and delivering wonderful experiences. Make sure you are booking your manager onto these types of events.