Have you ever attended an event and wished you were somewhere else? Or perhaps there have been times when you couldn’t wait to get to a particular function. Can you remember what it was about the events that you didn’t want to attend? Or better yet, do you remember what it was about the events you wanted to attend. These are the questions meeting and event planners tackle as part of their everyday jobs. For me, I have attended events that I dreaded as well as events where I couldn’t get there fast enough. Truthfully, it all depended on the event itself.
Having been in the event planning industry for more years than I wish to state, I began to recognize early on in my career that the key to winning a meeting planner’s business was to create events that sparked interest, made people have fun and sometimes they even learned something new about their industry.
Five Event Planning Tips to Consider for Your Next Event
The event should be something that an individual could not do on their own. Early on in my career, this became one of the main focal points. What I found work best was to propose events that the individuals attending would not have been able to do on their own. Of course the ideas depends entirely on the type of groups. Receptions and/or dinners in a museum is something that the average person would not be doing on their own. Depending on your client’s budget, there are many unique venues in most cities that rent their facility for private functions.
- Don’t plan it for yourself. I had the luxury of taking a management course with the Walt Disney Corporation a number of years back. One of the things that has always stuck in my head was a quote from Walt Disney himself. He was once asked to describe his success. One thing he said was “you don’t build it for yourself, rather find out what the people want and build it for them”. A lot of new planners tend to plan events around their own interests. What they are forgetting, however, is that the attendees do not necessarily want to do the same types of things as the event planner.
- Make it fun. I know this sounds so simple but it’s also something that gets overlooked often. Making an event fun doesn’t mean that people have to jump into bouncy blow up things (mind you, for the right group, those can be fun). If you are considering having sponsors for your event, this might be an area where they can help you. Whether it be a draw for a trip of a lifetime, or perhaps a take away prize, a little creativity can make people want to come out knowing they’re going to have a good time.
- Have a star at your event. Now I’m not saying go out and hire Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie to circulate at your event (if you have the budget, go for it – I’ll bet people show up). Rather, look at some of the superstars in your industry and see if you can get them to attend your event. Maybe it’s a keynote speaker that has a topic that people want to hear.
- Become known for a specialty. If you do multiple (or regular) events, become known for a certain aspect of your events. One example might be the food that you offer. Rather than the typical passed hors d’oeuvres or food stations, why not make your food unique by offering something that stands out. By becoming known for this one item, you’ll soon develop a following. People want to come to your next event to see what type of food you’re going to be offering “this time”. After all, if you go off the beaten path just a little bit you’re going to get noticed.
Creating an event that people want to attend can be a difficult task. The key to creating successful events is to think outside of the box. Reflect on the events that you’ve attended and think about the successful ones. What was it about the ones you liked? Build an event template that covers the key areas that will help make your event stand out.