If these statements sound familiar, then you are in trouble. Why?
Truth #1: The event you design and plan for your client is worthless if the attendees find no value in it.
Truth #2: If you make your attendees happy, you’ll make your client happy.
While your client is important, you are ultimately the one creating the event for the attendees. As expert Event Manager Julia Rutherford Silversnotes, “The audience for your event is the reason your event is taking place.” So here are three things you must do if you want to add value to your attendees and create an enjoyable event experience for them.
Know your audience and their needs
Who is attending your event? Are you dealing with millennials? Is this event for baby boomers, or maybe a mixed audience? Is this a conference for tech companies or for medical researchers? For example, referencing the latter, you’ll have to put extra effort into identifying effective methods of engagement when planning a medical conference, because the goal of the event is to provide continuing medical education, and engagement greatly facilitates the learning process. By knowing who your attendees are, you’ll be able to tailor the event to meet their needs and use the right event apps (or event platforms), offering them a personalized environment. Identify the profile of your audience and design the event accordingly.
Design meaningful experiences
According to Steve Schwartz, a senior research Policy Manager for the Washington Convention Center, people don’t measure their attending experience against their last event. Instead, they compare the current event experience with their best event experience. Meaningful event experiences resonate with people’s expectations. If they go to an event to learn, they want an educational experience. If they attend to have fun, they want an entertainment experience. If their goal is to meet new people, they want a networking experience.
Focus on producing a humane event
There are events where planners manifest zero empathy and compassion for their attendees. The schedule is too intense, there are no coffee or food breaks, the event staff is unfriendly, the sessions are scheduled late into the evening, and the environment is not interactive. When planning an event, don’t forget that your attendees are human beings and you must take their basic needs into account. With every decision you make about the event, put yourself in the shoes of your attendees and see how you’d feel if you were them.
When a client engages your services, know that the success of your event depends on how the attendees experience it. So take that extra time to analyze what brings value to your attendees and design the event accordingly.