Think about the most impressive event you’ve ever attended. What made it so memorable? Was it the quality of the content? The attention to detail? The networking opportunities it offered? Or was it simply that it met – and exceeded – your expectations in every way?
A highly successful event is never an accident. It takes careful designing and planning, and seamless execution. We caught up with Peaches Khumalo, our Project Team Leader, to speak to her about the most important threads that tie a great event together.
Establish your priorities
“First of all, you’ve got to have clear and tangible objectives,” says Peaches. “What is the purpose of your event? What outcomes do you want to achieve? What do you want your audience to get out of it? You have to ask yourself these questions at the outset, and they must inform every decision you make as you bring your event to life.” Your goals are your compass; refer to them constantly.
It’s also important that you know your audience so that you can shape the event to suit their needs in both generalised and specific ways. “Rather than segmenting audiences into demographics, we find it useful to create personas,” explains Peaches. “This helps us to understand our audience members as individuals who search for, consume and share content in different ways and on different channels. It also guides the way we communicate to these people – before, after and during the event – and how we help them connect and engage with each other.” One thing’s for sure: if you customise your audience’s experience, they’re guaranteed to notice.
Of course, an experienced, dedicated and reliable team who know what they’re doing is critical. Surround yourself with focused and competent people who have access to solid suppliers and a network of MCs and presenters who will make yours an event to remember. Your team should also be problem-solvers who can identify issues before they occur, and deal with those that happen on the day quickly and effectively.
Remember the finer details
When designing and executing an event, it’s easy to neglect a number of crucial issues that could be the tipping point between success and failure.
“So much of the success of an event is determined by the amount of preparation that goes into it,” says Peaches. “Your briefs to your suppliers and speakers, for example, need to be detailed and crystal clear. If you don’t communicate your needs to the people who are helping you pull your event off, you’re already in dangerous territory.”
Also, be wary of dreaming big. Yes, you want all the bells and whistles, but does your budget allow for it? When it comes to the bottom line, you’ve got to be strategic. The must-haves cannot be compromised for the nice-to-haves. No one will remember your beautiful centre pieces if your keynote speaker doesn’t arrive because she wasn’t paid.
And finally, do you have a plan B? How about a plan C and D? Are you prepared for rain? Do you have tech gurus on hand to deal with unexpected glitches? Have you tested everything more than once? “Always take into account the limitations of your venue, client, concept and budget,” says Peaches. “Communicate these clearly with everyone involved and operate within these parameters.”
Ultimately, you want your audience to walk away feeling informed and inspired, connected to those around them, and all too eager to praise your event in their discussions with others. Keep this top of mind, and your design process is already on the path to success.
Designing a cohesive and high-quality event takes experience and expertise. Fortunately, we’ve got both. To ensure that your event is professionally designed and that there are no loose threads, contact the Worx Group project management team today.