Shaping “Your Best Event Ever“
Think for a moment about your Best Event Ever—the best birthday party, the best concert, the best wedding ceremony. Or at work—the best office party, the best fundraiser, the best trade show.
There are lots of ingredients to a great event. It has to be fun; it has to have surprising elements; it has to have changes in tempo. It has to have a structure—a beginning, a middle, and an end with a climax—that provides a satisfying arc.
It should stir the imagination and capture the heart. And all along the way, you must stay ahead of your audience so that they’re not bored…waiting for something to happen.
These are all important points, but the one most critical element to the Best Event Ever is this: Help the attendee FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG.
When they feel this way, they will relax and engage as a collaborator and owner of the event…not just a spectator, waiting with a “show me” attitude. They will bring their energy, excitement, laughter, questions and participation to the fore out of a secure, confident, grateful space…and “plus” whatever you have prepared.
So how do you help them feel like they belong? You’ve heard the adage, “Know thyself.“ Well, in marketing it has a little different twist…“KNOW thy customer.”
Put yourself in their shoes. What makes them tick? What are they most concerned about, or looking for, that your company and your event will deliver?
Can you provide Adventure? Wellness? Empowerment? Friendship? New ideas? Competitive advantage?
Find this compelling WHY that is in their DNA (and yours) and make this your through-line. Keep the focus simple and weave it through everything…the messaging, the design, the decorations, the featured presenters, the prizes or gifts.
Then make this WHY personalized through every element of your event.
Begin with your announcement invitation. What can you do to touch a resonant chord in them that says, “We know what you care about, what matters to you, and we are hosting an event that is going to address that need and bring you a really satisfying experience.”
At the event, honor them as they arrive with some way of recognizing that they are important and their attendance makes a difference. You might provide a personalized nametag, a small note from you as the host or sponsor, participation in a kick-starter game, an immediate perk like a free drink or photo with a celebrity. You can also consider breaking down the size of the group by giving each person a sub-group to be part of that helps them feel known and identify with others like them—the purple group, the engineering group, the newcomers group. Then, whatever those sub-groups are, bring them forward so there is a pay-off. Some recognition or praise or award at the end. All tied into the compelling WHY.
During the event, keep reminding the attendees how important they are to the success of the event and how much it means that they are there. Use Social Media to create a sense of immediacy to their involvement. Remind them that everyone attending has the WHY in common…and, by focusing on it together, great things can happen.
At the end of the event, and in your post-event follow up, provide some interesting information about the folks who attended and ways for the attendees to stay engaged and experience even more of the key benefit that is in your mutual DNA.
To make application of this, try a simple experiment. In the next meeting that you’re in charge of, key in on this idea of helping people feel like they belong. Tap into something in their DNA that you know all of the attendees care about. Then weave it through your time together. See if it doesn’t turn out to be YOUR BEST MEETING EVER.
If you need help shaping and marketing your next event, consider contacting us. We can help you #MOVEahead.
Other tips and examples you may want to consider for shaping successful live events.