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Whether you’re trying to raise money for a charity or organisation, meet with customers and shareholders, or simply put on one heck of a party, there are few better ways to do it that with an absolutely killer event. In the business world, when a lot of people think of an event they think of rooms filled with people in suits being bored out of their minds, pretending to care about powerpoint presentations.
Now, that’s not to say that an event where information is communicated carefully and intelligently isn’t extremely important, but if you want your event to really engage people, then you need to give it something a little bit more special. Whatever the reason behind it is, your event is an opportunity to excite, delight and keep your organisation in the forefront of people’s minds well after it’s ended. To do that you need to turn it into something remarkable and unique. It needs to be the kind of thing that attendees have never seen before. To help make sure that it really is a showstopper, here is some simple advice to help you put on the best possible event.
If you want your event to be truly interesting and engaging, then you’ve got to think very carefully about what your intention is. What is the exact reason behind your event? Are you trying to raise money? Is it an opportunity to show off a new product to customers and investors? Is the event itself the product and the most important thing is giving people the best time ever so that they come back year after year? Unless you can give a clear, definitive answer as to what the event is actually for then, you’re never going to be able to create something unique and engaging. If you only have the vaguest idea of what you want to get out of your event, then it’s inevitably going to end up feeling limp, drab and a little lifeless. The purpose of your event should feed into every decision that you make. If you’re trying to demonstrate a new product to investors, then you’ll need a much more open schedule than if you were setting up a festival or carnival, which thrives off people’s ability to pick and choose from a dozen different things all happening at once. If investors are coming to see your product, then you don’t want to be constantly distracting them with other things. Where your focus lies should always depend on what you’re trying to get out of the event itself.
The kind of event that you’re running is going to have a massive impact on the kind of venue that you need. A small conference to discuss things with employees and investors is hardly going to need the same kind of venue as a carnival or festival. When choosing the venue, it’s important to know the kind of scale you’re working with as well. If you can, try to go into things with a pretty strong idea of exactly how many people will be attending and what facilities they’ll need. Remember, a venue that’s too small is going to make everyone extremely uncomfortable, but by the same token, a huge venue for a small event is going to seem totally out of place and even make your event seem less impressive than it might if it was a little more compact. It’s about finding the right balance between giving a sense of atmosphere and making sure that there is enough space for everyone to be both safe and comfortable at all times.
Even if the event itself is hugely enjoyable for everyone, if it doesn’t run smoothly then it’s going to leave a bad taste in your attendee’s mouths. One of the biggest problems for a lot of people putting on an event for the first time is that they tend to forget about how important security is. Not only is it crucial for preventing people from disrupting the event but it also provides a safe and secure environment for everyone who is supposed to be there. Make sure that you think carefully about what security measures you’re going to need for your event. At the very least you’ll want people managing the entrance and exit as well as others dotted around to make sure everyone is behaving appropriately. You’ll probably need more security if your event is split up into various discrete areas. Simple things like providing identification for attendees that can vary depending on how much access they have can make a huge difference. Lanyards Factory is a great resource for this kind of thing. If you’ve got one area of your event for investors and one for customers, or separate areas for performers and audience members, then it’s imperative that the people running your security can tell them apart instantly. That way you don’t have to have areas of your event getting cluttered up with lines as people fumble for their ID every time they want to enter somewhere new.
Now, in reality, this probably won’t happen. There’s a chance that the entire event will run as smoothly as you want and you won’t have to worry about a thing. But that’s really not a chance that you want to be taking. The best thing that you can do is to plan for every single thing that could go wrong. That way you can be sure that, no matter what happens, you already have a plan in place to deal with it. As much as you might think that you can think on your feet and deal with problems as they arise, an event involves so many different things happening at once that, without a solid plan in place, you’ll never be able to plug up every hole. In all likelihood, something will go wrong at your event, whether it’s a technical fault, personnel problem, unruly guests or anything else. The important thing is that you’re ready when it happens so that a small problem doesn’t then turn into a big one that could potentially ruin the entire event. A detailed risk assessment is one of the most important parts of any event, and without one then you’re just tempting fate.
Let’s be honest; it would be downright incredible if every single part of your event adhered to your schedule perfectly. Sadly, life doesn’t work that way. People can be unreliable, equipment can stop working, and a whole host of other things can happen to cause delays. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your schedule altogether. The key is to strike a balance between the two. Make sure that your schedule is clearly laid out and that everyone involved with the event has a copy of it. But don’t freak out if something happens and adjustments need to be made. The best way to avoid this is to be overly cautious with your schedule. Give yourself more time between different parts of the event that you necessarily think you might need. That way you’re in a position to always be slightly ahead of yourself rather than constantly playing catch-up. This also will depend on the kind of event that you’re running. An audience at a music festival will be happy to wait ten or fifteen minutes for an act to come on stage, but you won’t get anywhere near that level of patience from investors.
Unless you’re either incredibly brave or completely crazy, you probably won’t be handling this event on your own. This means that you’re going to need to communicate with a lot of different people, including the venue owners, technical crew, any speakers/performers, and security staff. If you’re not able to properly communicate with all of these different people, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Remember, this is your event, don’t let anyone else dictate the way that things should be done. If you need people to be at a specific place at a specific time, then that’s what needs to happen. You just need to make sure that they know what’s expected of them at all times. Don’t let anyone take over, but at the same time don’t assume that anyone’s going to pick up the slack for you. In all likelihood, you’re going to have to be the point of communication between everyone else, and without solid communication skills, plenty of things could end up getting lost in translation or missed entirely.