As a client, you have expectations. You want to plan a fantastic event for your clients in a cost effective manner and generate maximum return on investment out of doing so.
You want to be on top of your game and you want to create a long lasting impression which your audience will remember until the next event you organise.
You want them to expect better and more when they attend your company’s next event.
You have 2 options here :
Try to become an event manager and be the jack of all trades, where you try to do everything and end up giving little attention to what will actually give you a return on your investment.
You hand over the event execution to an event management company, who do this everyday, so that you can concentrate on furthering relations with your attendees and ensuring your guests feel welcome out of attending the event.
Our guess and our hope is, that you will choose the latter. We know, from experience, it is not possible to completely let go, which is absolutely normal and some thing we appreciate. The passion is what drives any event planner to go the extra mile.
We tell you what you can do to make your event a great success.
Trust your event planner
This we list down first because it is that critical to ensure a successful event.
It is imperative to keep absolute transparency and be candid about what is expected.If any information is withheld regarding the work that your event planners are entrusted with, it can have adverse effects on the over all functioning of the event.
Your event planner needs to see the event from your perspective to ensure flawless execution.
Be the single point of Contact
With most companies, more often than not, more than one person is assigned the responsibility of seeing the event through.
What is most recommended, is for the event planner to have one point of contact in order to ensure one clear channel of communication and to avoid miscommunication.
This practice gives your event an organised approval structure and makes all event processes quicker and more efficient.
Follow Timelines / Deadlines
This is one of the most important aspects. Almost all event companies will give you a sheet, which will list down when specific things such as Podium presentations, attendee lists, approvals on event graphics and agenda are required latest by.
If your event management company does not ask for those saying that will be managed on the day, that is a massive red flag,
The reason for this is obviously to back up on all the finer details involved within the event.
The event only gets as good as what the presenters and audience make it, hence always meet those deadlines.
Stick to the hierarchy
This is a subtle reference to point no 2. While a single point of contact at the clients company is expected, it is important, especially during the event that only the event planner who you have been dealing with be handed out instructions.
On the day of the event, you will see many event staff doing many different things, all directed by one person. If you were to hand them a set of instructions apart from what they are doing it would upset the wagon wheel completely, breaking a sprocket in the entire event machinery. Always ask the event director on site to assign someone for something you require.
To give you an example : If 2 hosts are assigned the responsibility of registration, and you ask them to escort a VVIP to their seat, they may do so, but that makes you vulnerable to losing the visiting cards collected at the registration desk and also leaves your registration desk unattended.
On the day, leave it to the experts:
This pretty much, is a compilation of all the above points put together. The reason to mention this though, is because most clients don’t realize that this is what your event planner prepared for since they first received the brief.
What we encourage our clients to do is, after the dry run is completed to leave the console and logistics in our capable hands and you enjoy the event, with your point of concentration being your attendees and speakers.
As an event management company, a lot of the inquiries we receive are to do with how much would rentals be for Stage, Sound, Lights, AV, we want Belly Dancers, we want a Bollywood act. The quality should be the best! We have already booked the venue.
The clients think amongst themselves and come to us with a list of set requirements they feel would help meet their objectives, and we are not involved in the planning process when setting objectives.
Whenever we receive an inquiry, the first question we ask the person who is calling is, “Why are you doing this?”
More often than not, the response received is packed with ambiguity and we are left to decipher what would be best for the event basis what the client has said.
Our suggestion is, why not involve us within objectives and budget setting for the events you have planned for the entire year or for a single event at least when the planning process begins?
There are ways which clients can maximize ROI and minimize expenses by understanding what is needed and what we can do without from the get go!
There are challenges the event industry here faces and a lot of those are to do with weak infrastructure, licensing and a plethora of other regulations. Event managers know the intricacies of delivering even with these challenges existing.
If we are involved from the start we can have clients save a lot of time and money when planning their event calendars and help in achieving the objectives set.
The B2B clients we work with at Pegasus Events have benefited tremendously from this process and we do not see why everyone can not see the Event Management Industry this way.
With any business marketing, money spent is money earned.
Below we highlight 5 different ways you can host events to transform your business. You would best judge what suits you the most.
Be happy with what you have !
Gather a few of your best customers together and give them an experience.It could be just simple dinner and drinks with a live band or it could be a world sporting event.
It is a great way to show them you care and they will remember you for the experience you provided. It psychologically swings the pendulum your way when it is time to renew contracts.
80% of your business will come from the top 20% of your clients, treat them well and it is a sure shot way of retaining the business.
Be the leader !
One great way to impress upon prospective clients is to address issues affecting their industry.
A generic industry event bringing together some of the brightest minds and organizing a think tank is the perfect platform to position yourself as a market leader.
This kind of subtle initiative not only makes you visible to your target market but also gives you the opportunity for personal interaction with prospects and aligning your product and service as per what is affecting the client.
Also the brand recall gets stronger as the people present remember it was your company that helped them get rid of the pain and concentrate more on gain!
Think out of the box !
This is a lot to do with increasing the amount of business received from an existing client.
Value added services to products offered can be a great tool to up sell on already existing deals.
Bring your clients together and offer them a demonstration about how this is the next level of what they are already using.
Invite them over !
If you have a Factory, Warehouse or business location, an open day is a fantastic way to let people see your business in action. They will get to know your business better, and be more confident in the product / service you offer.
A few tasty treats and some fun conversations to follow will be the cherry on the cake.
You will be surprised at how many of your customers and potential clients would LOVE to know more about what goes on in the background—and this will make them more likely to purchase.
Gratify them !
Give them something to remember you by. A gesture or token sent to current and potential clients randomly can do wonders to get you noticed.
Sending something during festivals is common but a random gesture or gift has a charm of its own.
We believe, personally communicating is the best way to grow your business as we have seen with the clients we have worked with over the past years and we cannot help but be passionate about it!
Events in a business to business marketplace are the tool most clients use to drive growth in Business.
To ensure the smooth functioning of the event and to make sure objectives are met, it is very important for Event managers to segregate the attending audience category-wise.
Based on our past experience organizing events, this minute detailing can do wonders to the overall show running and it helps in identifying what resources one needs to deploy so that the client can concentrate fully on interaction with Guests.
We have been doing this for a while and believe that the people at the event make the event and have developed these 4 character sketches which are our bible for the events we do.
The Client : While reading this you might think, geez what a surprise BUT although obvious it is critical to give the client a dedicated runner who is to be with the client at all times, so that any urgent requirement the client may have is addressed in a timely fashion and extremely promptly. It is also as important for the entire event crew manning different stations to identify which persons at the event represent the client company, so that if needed, they can approach the representative closest to them and action the crisis accordingly.
The Guests : Again, stating the obvious. But a person to man the registration desk with the hostesses is essential in segregating the Guests from someone playing a more participatory role within the event. It also helps in providing the attending guests with a delightful and smooth experience where they are immediately identified, the registration process is completed and are escorted to their seats by the hostesses.
The VIP : Besides the client, there has to at all times be one resource stationed near where the VIP’s are seated and the VIP’s need to be told about that person. This just allows to eliminate the possibility of the VIP requiring something and it not being readily available.
The Speakers : One person who has a clear comm and is in direct communication with the console manager is in charge of this set of audiences. This person ensures the speakers are identified, Dry-Run done, Presentations loaded at the console and that the speakers are intimated about going up on stage at least 15 minutes before.
The above practice has been a big help for us to help our clients meet their objectives and when put in practice it tends to elevate the level of service provided by a notch.
It has always been our motto to help ” Drive Business Growth through Tangible Event Experiences ” and this small step helps us achieve that very effectively.
This Post has been written by Becki Cross for eventmanagerblog.com
A lot is written and observed about the traits of Event Managers and what it takes to be a great Event Planner. On the flipside however some of these common characteristics we share and our demanding career path can actually be a nightmare for those around us, at home, work and play.
In this post we explore the downsides of our work as an #Eventprof. This is essential reading for anyone training to be an Event Manager or starting out in the industry and should strike a chord with all Event Planners. This light hearted post is a special thank you to our friends and loved ones who put up with us day in and day out and love us anyway, despite these foibles and our unconventional jobs!
Perfectionist or Control Freak?
Attention to detail matters a lot in this job, for obvious reasons. However there is actually a very fine line between a perfectionist and a control freak. If you believe that you have to do everything yourself to ensure your high standards are met and struggle with delegation you may have crossed the line!
Do you believe that everything will crumble if you do not micro-manage every single detail? Try to keep a healthy perspective and reality check yourself otherwise with so many details to manage on every single event you can easily burn yourself out with stress and anxiety. Remember events are about team work for the greatest chance of success.
It is also sometimes inevitable and completely outside of your control when things go wrong. At times like these you need the right side of your brain to take the lead, rather than the methodical, task-based and logical left side. When you have to think on your feet and react quickly you really show your worth as an Event Manager. It takes nerves of steel not to crumble and to take control of the situation authoritatively and quickly and to smoothly direct a new plan of action. On the plus side there is no time to worry about it and the adrenalin often kicks in. You really must “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
All Work and No Play
Many people envy the role of an #eventprof. It is true that the job can have many perks, but it certainly isn’t always as glamorous as many people imagine!
In reality it is hard work. It involves long, long hours and plenty of pressure to ensure everything goes to plan. If you are looking for a set 9 to 5 job this probably isn’t the career for you to choose. Flexibility is key and you need to be prepared to work relentlessly and for as long as necessary to ensure that everything is ready on time for your event.
Moreover, when the event is in full swing on the day/night there is often no time to relax (or even sometimes to eat!). At the end of the day you are putting on the event for other people’s benefit, delight and objectives, you are there to do a job and not to enjoy yourself!
Of course jet setting across the world or even just to other towns and cities sounds exciting but often you have little or no time to explore the outside world before you are back on the plane/boat/train/car back home again.
Shhh. Don’t Tell!
Another misconception about our job is how lucky we are to work with celebrities and famous people and this is true most, or at least some, of the time. It is great to truly appreciate how someone has deservingly got where they are through talent and charisma and seemingly managed to stay grounded.
HOWEVER I think every #eventprof has horror stories of egotistical, downright rude and dislikeable characters we have had the “pleasure” to work with. But of course what happens backstage, stays backstage – or at least until I write my memoirs!
It’s Not All About You
One of the greatest skills of an Event Planner is actually fading into the background! You are not the star of the show, you are there to silently and efficiently work behind the scenes so that the event happens as if by magic.
Of course people should know where to turn if they have any questions or concerns but humility is actually a very important attribute for every Event Manager and this is a good marker to me of a successful event.
Sociable and Outgoing? Or Simply too Loud?
This profession seems to attract those that are fairly confident and outgoing, which makes sense in this public facing and customer orientated role. However it is important to realize that what is sociable to one person can sometimes be seen as overbearing to another. I have certainly met some marmite characters in the world of events.
The best #eventprofs are able to judge a situation and the characters involved perfectly and blend in as the circumstances demand. Like a chameleon they are well practiced at keeping the conversation flowing on seemingly any topic, champions at asking questions, listening and showing an interest and of course able to inject professionalism, humour, intrigue and storytelling as required.
For many Event Managers their role today is closely interlinked with technology and social media and seems to demand being online 24/7. To others we can appear to act like teenagers, or even sometimes be perceived as being rude, constantly checking our smart phones. However we are “working” – honest! In social media quick responses are essential so replying promptly across multiple social media channels is important. And it can be tempting to check ticket sales, reply to that email, update your to-do list and start planning that next blog post while your phone is at your fingertips.
Just please oh please do not fall in to the 75% of Americans that admit using their smart phone on the toilet….
Time and time again Event Management is listed as one of the top ten most stressful jobs so can you blame us for being a little tetchy sometimes?! An event really is the ultimate immovable deadline and stress levels and patience can sometimes run a little thin at pressurized times!
And to be frank after a LONG, HARD event day of non-stop talking and endless smiles looking after guests it is nice to simply be quiet!
And yes, on event days we can easily cover 20 miles plus so we are fully entitled to moan about our aching limbs and blistered feet too!
What Time Do you Call This?
18 hour days and finally falling into bed at 3am after running a dinner or awards ceremony or rising at 4am to run a conference or exhibition is part of the job spec. Hopefully you have an understanding bedfellow as many people wouldn’t dream of keeping the hours demanded as an #eventprof. And of course being an Event Planner you will no doubt have multiple alarm devices set just to ensure you wake up at the necessary time and in case the first 2 alarm clocks don’t work, which can be a little frustrating for your other half if they were hoping not to be disturbed.
Once An Event Planner Always An Event Planner…
When you go to an event organized by someone else we still cannot help ourselves. Do we switch off and enjoy not being in the driving seat for once? NO! Instead we seem to go on auto pilot, opening doors, directing people, solving other people’s problems. The strange thing is people seem to naturally gravitate towards us as if they think we are in charge! Event Management is in your blood.
Just Enjoy the Moment?
Furthermore we can’t help but wonder “why have they [the Event Planner] done it that way? I would have done that differently” whilst also appraising what they have done well and what is and isn’t working.
At festivals and concerts in particular I find myself completely fascinated watching the crew do their jobs and appreciating the quick set changes and the sound, vision, lighting and special effects in minute detail. Does this detract from my enjoyment of the event though? No – not at all!
I know lots of amazing Event Planners who are fantastic at what they do as well as great people to know. However there is definitely a flip side and the traits that make us dynamite Event Managers and our over-demanding careers can also make us frustrating friends, lovers, family members, work colleagues or acquaintances. I hope that we are worth it!
About the Author: This Post has been written by Becki Cross for eventmanagerblog.com
Becki Cross is Managing Director of Events Northern Ltd, an event and conference management company established in 2004.
This Blog has been written by Kevin Jackson for eventmanagerblog (Event MB)
Do you believe that events are the future? More importantly do your clients understand? This post considers why events will always be integral to the success of businesses, brands, and retaining the loyalty of those who believe in them.
Those that know me would tell you I’m a people person.
Those that don’t know me would probably believe them.
It is easy, in business, to overlook the fact that we deal with real human beings.
Real people can get lost between numbers, projections, ROI and profit margins, when really they are the most important thing keeping all of us afloat.
The importance of retaining a human connection externally with customers and clients and internally with staff and stakeholders, cannot be overstated.
And successful connection is all about conversation, mutual understanding, and appreciation which all equals, you guessed it: Engagement.
So What Do We Mean By ‘Engagement’?
Engagement is about adding value, building trust, and driving commitment. In doing so, brands and business are able to move their audiences from passive indifference to active participation.
It’s about creating authentic and meaningful interactions between people and the products and services with whom they choose to spend their valuable time.
It’s no surprise to learn that the deepest connections between audiences and brands are formed through a process that takes people from watching and thinking, to feeling and doing.
Active participation at a personal level with a brand is key to establishing value and a lasting bond. So we need to get personal, get real, and start an authentic dialogue.
Social Net Worth Over Social Networks
Businesses can spend millions on advertising, social networking and social media strategies, but although the web allows us to directly connect with our customers and target audiences, this relationship isn’t always reciprocal.
We can connect to customers digitally online, but this does not mean the customer is connected with us, because the human element is still missing. Social media just makes us a glorified pen-pal. Engagement isn’t just about clicking on ads and responding to sales promotions.
Instead, we need to move away from social networking and focus on being social net worth kings – championing genuine, real connections and relationships with customers over just sticking something before them and asking them to care. Reclaiming the people from the numbers, figures and follower counts.
Because the human element that is missing from social media is experience.
Real-life interaction and participation is comparable to none – and is the greatest marketing tool you could ever want or need.
That’s precisely what makes events so important. Events create the emotional energy behind the sale, the human experience element. And no-one at all, including those in procurement, really choose a logical sales choice.
They make emotional ones – buying ideas. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and the only way to truly engage people with that why, is to offer them a direct, human experience of your brand in real life.
Events: Power to the People
Of course, there are still those who might think that the live experience is the soft option. But to do so is to miss the bigger picture. It’s only when we visit a live event that we start to understand what a brand feels like, and how it behaves.
Every touchpoint or element has been designed to represent the brand, allowing for rich, immersive and powerful engagement from start to finish. And it all begins with an understanding of the consumer’s world. Rather than telling audiences that we’re interested in the same things they are, we’re proving it – like I said, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Events build emotional energy which is the most important facet of human connection, which therefore creates engagement and ultimately generates sales and ensures growth.
In today’s world, social media is as intrinsic to our lives as eating, drinking, breathing. We have become more connected than ever, and someone on the other side of the world is as good as our next door neighbour.
But arguably, the value of that connection has decreased. Online, no real thought or effort has to go into communicating any more, and it’s the same with the way brands operate online. With an increase in the ease of communication, there’s a decrease in what it actually means – making the individual feel important.
Humans are emotional beings and so the key to growth is generating an ethos and culture that is emotionally-driven that it allows consumers to become invested in why we do what we do. And that’s something that cannot be imitated, achieved only from real face-to-face human interaction. And what better way to connect with people than a bit of a party, right? That’s why events will always be integral to the success of businesses, brands, and retaining the loyalty of those who believe in them.
About the Author: Kevin Jackson for eventmanagerblog (Event MB). Voted the most influential person in the UK event industry over the last 3 years, Kevin Jackson has been making his influence felt for over twenty years. He’s been a significant player with some of the world’s most respected marketing services groups, now Vice President of George P Johnson, and President of ISES UK.
This article is written by Jenny Stanfield for eventmanagerblog (Event MB)
Active Participatory Model is a new way of thinking about conferences that focuses on the top 2 reasons people attend meetings: networking and learning. Its aim is to create the most engaging and personalized experience for participants while achieving the major objective(s) – the ‘Big Why’ – for the meeting.
Personalization and ‘The Big Why’ are two massive trends in the meetings industry, but the answer to both of them is often incorporating technology or expensive experiential activations that are cumbersome, out of reach, or just plain ineffective. It seems that we all want to talk about engagement and ‘leaning in’ but nobody is talking about tangible ways to make that happen in the room.
Following the Active Participatory Model, there are incredibly effective ways to get the most out of your participants and inspire them to be more engaged with your organization’s goals. You can achieve this with little to no technology and actually cut costs on speakers, decor, and more. Sounds ambitious, but it’s pretty simple.
Integrate Storytelling from the Beginning
Set the tone for the entire conference by incorporating an interactive welcome event that tells a story in a creative way. Your goal should be to get people engaged, connected, and interacting with your organization’s brand right from the moment they hit registration. The focus of this welcome event should be on experiential design, evoking emotion and introducing ‘The Big Why’ in a unique way. This means you can cut the headlining entertainment acts and lavish decor, and instead spend time and energy on a program that promotes team building and group engagement.
Utilize a Conference MC/Learning Coach
Cancel your expensive celebrity keynote speaker and invest in a Conference MC/Learning Coach who has the expertise and charisma to prime your participants for the best possible experience.
Your MC’s opening keynote should incorporate themes of mindfulness and intention setting for the duration of the program. This will help set the tone for the conference and help participants get the most out of every aspect of your planning. Whether it be to retain new information, network better, get inspired, or just get out of their comfort zone – everyone will benefit from this shift in mindset.
Embrace Peer to Peer Learning Methods
Short (5 minute) pitches from your concurrent session speakers followed by ‘Deep Dives’ (longer seminar/workshop style sessions) are a growing conference trend. But once participants dive in, keeping them inspired and able to retain new information isn’t as easy as a theater-style set up with a static ‘sit and listen’ methodology. Polling applications can be effective, but often are more of a novelty that serve the speaker more than the audience.
A great way to lock in learning is to incorporate small group discussions and peer to peer discussions. Participants are should verbalize new information and repeat it back in their own words. This is incredibly helpful for memory and long term retention. Another great way to promote active learning is to have your speaker pose questions and have the participants struggle to find the answer themselves before presenting the solution.
Planning social events, team building activities, and CSR programs that synthesize learning and networking are another invaluable way to let people have fun and while meeting your objectives.
Give Them a (Meaningful) Break!
Destination conferences often aim to pack in as much as possible into the schedule. It’s understandable that there is pressure to make every second count to offset expensive travel costs, but the last thing you want is participants who are distracted by their smartphones, hungry, tired, or just plain burnt out from a demanding schedule.
Make your breaks count. Include something active such as an early morning yoga session or meditation room. Set specific breaks throughout the day for rest, relaxation, personal time, and time to catch up on business outside of the conference. This will eliminate distractions when it’s time to learn and network.
Make Your Conference Count All Year Long
Pre and post initiatives can make or break your conference – both for interest in registration for the future and with maintaining engagement and ROI year round.
Release teaser videos from your conference speakers posing questions they plan to answer and describing what participants will get out of their sessions.
The day before participants arrive, hold speaker coaching sessions for the organization’s leaders and industry experts. You can hold rehearsals with full AV set-ups to avoid tech mishaps and ensure speakers are comfortable with their surroundings at the same time.
Email a video out of the highlights of the conference. This helps reinforce positive memories and create actionable change. You can also use this to promote future conferences and for ongoing training for those who were unable to attend the event.
You can also encourage participants to engage with speakers and industry experts on social media and send out additional information about their webinars, books, and further courses for a more in-depth learning experience.
Technology, celebrity, and spectacular decor are all fantastic elements to enhance your conference when they are implemented correctly, but they often do not create a participatory experience. We as event professionals want our participants to feel inspired, fulfilled, and come away armed with new information and new friends. Following the Active Participatory model, we can achieve all of this without breaking the bank.
About the Author: Jenny Stanfield is the Lead Event Producer at Engagement Unlimited. She is a passionate, creative event professional who was recently awarded PCMA’s 20 in their Twenties distinction. Her focus is pushing the boundaries of group engagement and maximizing learning and networking at events.