Basics for Building Better Events
For event marketers, the pressure to inject fresh ideas into their meetings has never been more real. But with all the exciting new technologies out there, it’s easy to get distracted and lose sight of the fundamentals of event planning.
Environment is the foundation of all meetings. And creating the right ambiance can have a huge impact on the overall impression of your event. So how do attendees feel the moment they walk into your meeting space until the moment they walk out? By focusing on four key areas, you can ensure you are setting the right tone for success.
Starting and ending your meeting on time is critical to building trust and rapport with attendees, and minimizing stress on your presenters. If you plan ahead, you can achieve this logistical feat with relative ease. Avoid “day of” rehearsals as they can spoil your chances of opening doors on time. Do not delay the program start to add drama; it just serves to annoy attendees. By the same token, don’t panic and open doors early because folks are lined up outside. There’s such a thing as good tension.
While ending on time can be trickier, it starts with a well-communicated, precise show flow (which includes ample fudge time for transitions), and a generous rehearsal schedule that accommodates a full run-through of all presentations to ensure speakers are hitting their mark. During the actual event, employ a speaker timer and “housekeeping” monitor. Both allow you to communicate with on-stage presenters in the event that you need them to stretch or wrap up.
Attendees will not hold it against you if you end early. But they might if you end late, particularly if your tardiness derails their schedule for the rest of the day.
Remember how Goldilocks likes her porridge? Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. That’s how attendees like their meeting rooms. Unfortunately getting to “just right” can be a challenge when dealing with hotel HVAC systems. Work with your Convention Services Manager in advance to determine the appropriate temperature for your room and audience size, and then set it and forget it. Too often planners make reactionary adjustments that cause swings in temperature that can take hours to correct.
Meeting room temperature is one of the most common complaints among event attendees. And while they may blame the venue in this situation, do not underestimate the negative impact an uncomfortable meeting space can have on your event.
Music is one of the most significant elements in creating ambiance in live meetings and events. It’s also one of the most overlooked. Because music is so subjective, many planners and producers tend to play it safe. I encourage clients to think beyond the standard corporate Jazz and retro Rock. Rather than serve up songs that are overtly themed, or geared towards audience demographics, push the envelope by featuring current selections that carry a positive message and evoke a happy, toe-tapping energy.
Today’s tunes are fresh and relatable, and bring a hip, “here and now” vibe to your event. And attendees definitely take note. Best of all, you need not look beyond your television these days for inspiration.
Like PowerPoint and Keynote, audio-visual tools are intended to support your presenters, not outshine them. But too often the infrastructure becomes the focal point of your environment. Use AV and event technology thoughtfully and purposefully to establish mood (think mood lighting), and to frame and punctuate your content. Using bells and whistles for the sake of bells and whistles detracts from your message, and can give the appearance of trying too hard.
We all want the “wow” factor, but the real wow (and yes, the real hard work) comes from creating engaging content that shines when paired with the right technology, and delivered with confidence, precision and just the right amount of stagecraft.
Better meetings start with better environments. And creating the right ambiance is key. At Impact Productions, we focus not just on how meeting spaces look, but also on how they feel. We believe that embracing the basics – and paying attention to nuance – goes a long way towards elevating meetings to a whole new level. Plus, it’s a whole lot more cost-effective than chasing shiny new objects.