Pretend you have nothing to do with organizing your event; what do you need to immediately see outside of your venue? For instance, where are you supposed to park? What entrance to the building are you supposed to use? Are there separate entrances depending on the role you play in the event? Once inside the building, are there multiple floors or rooms to navigate? Is there a sign indicating that you’ve arrived at your final destination? You definitely don’t want your attendees to start their experience with frustration if your event lacks sufficient signage and direction.
Moreover, you want them to immediately trust the event upon arrival. This means well-designed, professional graphics and signs. Skip the copy paper and Sharpie; get it done the right way.
This can be broken down into the organization of time and the organization of information. If your event is going to last for multiple hours or days, consider the comfort of your attendees. Will there be breaks for meals? Are the meals or snacks provided, or do you need to allow more time for attendees to leave the premises and return? Are there rest rooms within a reasonable distance? Are you providing any free refreshments, such as water and/or coffee? Is there adequate seating?
Concerning the organization of information, consider how your attendees obtain facts about the day’s itinerary. It’s a good idea to have a program of some kind printed and available to every attendee. This could be a booklet or a single sheet depending on how much you have going on. If you have a speaker or multiple speakers, then give your audience some background information about them. If your event is located on or inside of a large property, maybe your attendees would benefit from a map of the premises.
3. Digital Communication
Throughout the entire event, you should be uploading photographs to social media sites, tweeting quotes from your speakers or pieces of knowledge you’ve gained, as well as providing status updates about what’s happening. Make those who aren’t there wish that they were!
Your event should have an assigned hashtag. It should be prominently displayed on your signage so that your attendees can see it and know you want them to use it in their own posts.
4. Take Away
This one’s important. What do you want your attendees to take from this experience? Think of this in terms of both tangible items and intangible ideas or actions. There should always be at least one tangible item that you give your attendees just for showing up. Maybe it’s laptop stickers or a tote bag. But, there should also be a call to action once they leave. Do you want them to consider knowledge that is being shared, or cultivate ideas being created? By hosting this event, you are creating a community for those who attend. What is your community’s purpose or goal?
5. Maintaining connections and community
Expanding on the previous point, have a plan for how you will cultivate the community you’ve helped to build once your event is over. Stay tuned for the next blog in our Event Series for tips on doing just that.
What strategies have you found to be helpful when hosting a large event?