In the business world, events are one of the most effective means of meeting and communicating with customers, suppliers, company staff and industry peers.
The increasing importance which business owners have come to place on events has given rise to the discipline of event management. Essentially, event management is the application of project management skills and practices to face-to-face marketing events.
With numerous speakers, large numbers of attendees, audiovisual presentations, catering requirements and venue organisation, events are complex affairs. Successful event management, therefore, requires input over a wide range of different areas.
Define Your Objectives
When first contemplating an event it is essential that you define your objectives before you do anything else. Think about both the purpose of the event (to connect with buyers?) and the hoped-for outcome (to generate sales?).
Once your objectives are defined you’ll be able to tailor your event to achieve those goals. Your objectives will influence:
- The size of the venue.
- The event’s budget.
- The nature of your presentations.
- The type of attendees you invite.
- The strategies you employ throughout the event e.g. the topics addressed, catering, technological aids etc.
Create a Buzz
For people to attend your event you need to get them excited enough about it to entice them out of their offices and into your venue. You can do this by providing event content that they feel they simply should not miss. You can also do it by making your event so exciting or prestigious that they’ll attend simply to be part of the spectacle. The best events, of course, combine both elements.
All areas of an event require extensive planning but one of your most basic considerations should be the timing of your event. Research dates that are important to the industry you are working within. Are there any other events or exhibitions coming up that might conflict with yours? Might your attendees be suffering from event overload?
Pick dates and times that are convenient to your attendees. Staging an event at 5.00pm one Friday during the school holidays is unlikely to result in a full house.
Invitations & Registration
Don’t skimp on your invitations. Invitations are an important part of creating a buzz about your event. They should make people feel that they will miss something important to their business lives if they don’t attend.
And if people do accept your invitation, you need an effective way of keeping track of them. Make sure you have an adequate registration process in place. Increasingly, for larger events, this can be web-based.
Given the complexity of today’s events it is impossible to do everything yourself. Make sure you have the right sort of people available with the right sort of skills, then delegate the implementation of the various aspects of the event to them.
You want your event to look professional. You want it to go like clockwork. The only way to do this is to rehearse the major components of the show, particularly key speakers, performers, and your audiovisual presentations.
In the business world, the content of your event may well be ground that has been covered before to some extent. But if, in your process of event management, you think outside the square, if you apply your creativity and present that content in a way no one has seen before, your attendees will be talking about your event for weeks afterwards.
No matter how good your skills at event management, disasters sometimes strike. Make sure you have procedures in place to deal with them. It may be nothing more threatening than a speaker who doesn’t show up, or it may a fire in the auditorium…
Measure Your Results
The success of your event will depend on how close you have come to achieving the goals you identified when you defined your objectives. To determine your level of success you’ll need to implement some sort of measurement process. Consider things like questionnaires and email surveys after the event.
Plan for Success
A successful event can have a significant positive impact on a business, driving sales, improving staff morale and enhancing reputation. A poorly planned one can have exactly the opposite effect, damaging both credibility and revenue.
The single most important factor in making your event one of the former is planning. When you begin the process of event management, make sure you allow yourself sufficient time to plan all aspects of the event thoroughly. It’s time consuming, but it’s far better than making your business the laughing stock of the industry.Event Management – Make Your Event a Success,