The business world is changing at a fast pace. New industries, like FinTech or self-driving cars, are booming. These new dynamics will encourage people to build new platforms for networking and knowledge transfer.
More and more professionals show interest in attending face-to-face meetings, where they could find new grounds to boost their industry or sector. Different business stakeholders are reevaluating the real potential of events, gradually understanding its key role as a growth and development engine.
According to Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager at American Express Meetings & Events, “As we look to 2018, the optimism related to the meetings industry continues with positive sentiment, plans for growth, and increasing investment activity.”
That’s why, as an event professional, it’s your responsibility to find ways of staying competitive. Your main goal should be attracting high-quality clients who are willing to rely on your planning and marketing services. Planning memorable and meaningful experiences for the attendees became a must for event professionals. There’s no other way to survive than by executing a flawless job. However, to actually stand out from your competitors, you must take one step forward and deliver excellence.
What should you start with? Here’s a list of recommendations you may want to consider when designing and planning your next event:
Tip 1. Deliver a memorable experience
Although people are interested in the quality of your event’s content and the networking potential, they’re also seeking extraordinary experiences. Whether it’s about excitement, novelty, or awesomeness, to differentiate yourself from the competition, you must also design the emotional layer of the event.
For example, to get your attendees to engage in different experiences, you can set up nontraditional event venues, such as vineyards, rural settings, or open warehouses. You can also deliver a series of memorable feelings by designing different activities that will allow your attendees to interact with the local culture (if you’re planning an international event).
The thing here is to keep in mind that people are in search of unique experiences and settings. If you can cover this part, you can also set yourself apart from the competitors.
Tip 2. Mix creativity with fun and craftsmanship
Apart from providing unique environments and experiences, think about planning a series of remarkable dynamics. To make your event stand out from others (so that people will talk about the experience and recommend it to their colleagues and friends), intertwine the knowledge and interaction sessions with some fun activities.
For example, you could plan a craftsmanship workshop or a wine degustation. These types of unusual dynamics will transform your event into a memorable one and make your guests want to attend the next edition.
Tip 3. Don’t overlook the details
Messy check-in tables? Inaccurate program schedule? Audiovisual problems? Yes, all these problems may happen, but you don’t want to give off the impression of negligence or that you don’t care. Your demeanor when planning the event will affect your attendees’ overall experience. That’s why it’s crucial to pay careful attention to details and minimize any possible issues that may appear during the event.
Tip 4. Advocate mindfulness and a slow-event experience
If you plan events for professionals (of any kind), chances are your guests have hectic agendas and are very busy. Don’t transform your event into a blueprint of their daily activities. Instead of trying to cram in as many sessions as possible and rush the entire experience of your guests, think about designing a decompressed environment. Help your attendees become mindful about the event. You can do that by inviting meditation experts who can help your guests relax before the knowledge session starts. Also, advocate a slow-event experience, which refers to not rushing or doing things quickly. Make sure your attendees truly enjoy the event you’ve planned for them.
Tip 5. Keep your guests’ undivided attention
It’s already difficult to grab and maintain your attendees’ focus. With constantly buzzing smartphones and email notifications, chances are they’re only giving you a fragment of their attention. But having one eye on the speaker and other on the screen of a smartphone or notebook isn’t a way to enjoy an event. To keep this from happening, encourage your attendees to disconnect from their phones and completely immerse themselves in the event experience.
Planning perfect and flawless events isn’t enough to set you apart from the competition. Other elements must be brought to the table.
To provide a truly extraordinary experience your guests will love and appreciate, focus on how they’ll feel during the event and that unique flavor they’ll truly remember. Good luck!