Event management is not a piece of cake. Planning and hosting a successful event takes a lot of time, hustle and energy — and still you can’t be sure that everything will go as intended.
When I was planning my first event, someone told me it’s like sailing a boat. First you need to find safe waters to sail, then prepare your boat, determine the wind direction and start your journey. While the boat is floating on the water, you look calm and chill on the outside but you need to watch your wind indicators and maneuver the right way to avoid tipping over.
Here are some do’s and don’ts of event management that will help you sail your boat safely.
Defining the purpose and format
Do specify what goal you want to reach with your event before starting to plan. Does it aim to generate awareness about your project, raise funds, celebrate a milestone, express gratitude or just entertain the guests? This might seem trivial but the concept of your event defines its format, budget, the distribution of roles within the team, the hall layout and activities.
Don’t avoid experiments by sticking to traditional event formats. Of course they can be great, but matching and mixing ideas or coming up with fresh and creative event formats can help you stand out from the masses and achieve better audience engagement.
Do brand your event. After defining your target audience, find the ways to reach and attract them with a powerful message. Find a few media partners who target your audience and use your own channels to raise awareness about your event. Make sure that the messaging, color palette, logos and everything else involved in event branding is in line with your brand guidelines. You can also create an event hashtag, encourage your team and attendees to use it, and monitor audience engagement through social networks. Establishing a strong brand will make your event recognizable.
Don’t try too hard to sell your event by placing pushy ads in every corner. Instead follow the principle of scarcity, get creative and place your logo or other brand identifiers in strategic spots to become memorable. At the event site, you can have your logo displayed on notebooks, pens, plastic bracelets or creative stickers.
Do have a plan B. Check the location as early as possible to make sure it provides all the facilities you need. Put yourself in the position of your guests and think what experience they will receive. In the most unexpected moment, it can turn out the air conditioning doesn’t work or the catering is an hour late. We all think these kind of situations won’t happen to us, but it’s always good to have an alternative plan and keep everything under control.
Don’t worry too much about pleasing everyone. You will hardly achieve this as people often have unique tastes and preferences. Just try to keep everything up to the mark and enjoy the process yourself.
Do engage your audience. Interaction and active collaboration is key to any successful event. Think out of the box to provide a great experience for your guests and make sure they’ll come back for your future events.
With advances in event management technology, it’s easier than ever to interact with your audience. Besides running traditional games and competitions, you can also use audience engagement tools, such as Swift Polling to create a fun and interactive experience for your guests. Swift Polling allows you to run text message polls and interactive Q&A sessions in your events, making them entertaining and collaborative.
Don’t rely only on mics passing around the audience to make people speak, especially if your guests don’t know each other well. While some people enjoy being in the spotlight, others experience stress and frustration from the only thought of speaking in public . So make sure to provide your attendees with equal opportunities to participate by running web and text polls, online surveys, quizzes and other activities that allow them to communicate without the need to speak before others.
Do. After the big day is over, ask your guests to share their thoughts to show them you care about their opinion and to gain useful insight for future improvement. Post-event surveys and open-ended questions are a great way to quickly and easily capture attendee feedback. You can use Swift Polling to let your attendees submit their feedback with a text message during the last minutes of the event. You can also create online surveys, post the links on your social pages with your event hashtag and ask your guests to participate.
Don’t forget to thank your attendees for their participation, by sending a post-event email or a text message. This will not only let them know how much you appreciate their contribution, but also encourage them to attend your future events. Send thank-you notes within 24 hours after the event and, if possible, include the name of the recipient in each message for more personal touch.
Maximize audience engagement in your next event with web and text polls, online surveys and open-ended questions.