With Summer just around the corner (we hope it will be a good one!!), you might be starting to think about hosting an event for your clients, prospective clients or your industry in general, or all of the above!
Holding a KICK ARSE business event is not only a way to find more clients and to thank existing customers, it’s also a good way of building credibility as an entrepreneur within your industry.
When you plan and sponsor an event, you’re suddenly transformed into a business leader. You’re responsible for bringing like-minded entrepreneurs together to talk business, and only a leader does that!
Add to that, pulling off a really great event, and you’ll be seen as a leader and an authority in your community and field, regardless of your experience or age.
Plus, you can’t beat the exposure – people often talk about great events they’ve attended, and that means the benefits extend well beyond the event itself!
Here’s a few tips on how to pull off a successful event:
Be clear about your WHY!
Try to be clear on your objectives for the event. To build a community? For people to network? To generate leads and sales? To have fun? Generate PR? Build-up your reputation? Start with putting your thinking cap on and brainstorm on the above questions.
Don’t have all the answers yet? Don’t let that hold you back. Start experimenting. You will have a much clearer idea about your WHY after the first event – just in case you struggle with this.
There’s not much point putting in the effort to organise your event if it’s not well publicised. Get the word out there using all available means; your current business network, social media, perhaps even targeted marketing. If you can, build a community of attendees that already know each other; this should ensure more interaction and discussion between the sessions.
Make it easy.
Make it simple for attendees to register for the event. Depending upon the size of the event, consider using a pre-made registration application. Having people register in advance helps you estimate the attendance ahead of time, and it gets a commitment from attendees.
Attract awesome speakers.
Your attendees are there for the speakers (and the networking!), so it’s important to attract speakers who offer relevant experience and passion. The choice of speakers will vary greatly depending upon your event type and scale, but it’s worth investing time in getting this right!
Make it inspirational rather than educational.
Ask the speakers to focus on inspiring attendees rather than teaching them something. Instead of coming away with a technique or two to implement when they get back to the office, attendees came away fired up and inspired to go home, kick ass and build better products.
Choose the venue wisely.
A good choice of venue is very important. Make sure the venue is up-scale, is appropriate to your event’s needs (for example, audio / visual set up, space for break-out sessions, access to food / drink), is easy to find and has plenty of parking. Nowadays, many hotels will allow you to hold a networking event in their lobby or patio area, and often you can get the space for free if the hotel bar is connected to the space.
And don’t forget, if your attendees are coming from far and wide, it’s better that the venue is geographically centrally located.
Spend money on branding the event.
If you have the budget, branding the event can build an ambience and get everyone psyched up and engaged on the day.
Make event check-in super smooth.
It’s a great idea to have attendees check in, even if you aren’t charging for an event, that way you can track attendance, and if you ask for their email address, you can follow up and announce future events. But don’t draw out the registration process.
Make sure you introduce yourself to ever person who attends. Welcome them, and focus on talking about what they do, not what you do. Be a great listener, and take a genuine interest in them and their business. They’ll remember you for it.
Be a connector.
As you meet and greet, constantly look for opportunities to connect people who would benefit from meeting each other. Keep track of these connections, and follow up next time you see them. Find out if they benefited from the introduction.
There are always a few people at any event who are off in a corner, not talking to anyone. Get volunteers to be anchors for your event. Their job is to make sure everyone is talking with someone.
Provide space and fuel for networking.
Attendees will probably derive just as much value from the networking and discussions between sessions. So, you have to make room and time for that.
Follow up, and do it again.
Follow up with your attendees. Ask how they liked the event, and get ideas from them about how it could be better. Then plan the next one. If you follow this formula, you’ll see your events grow and grow.
REMEMBER that things will go wrong!
Don’t stress out, above all else, STAY COOL and breathe. THINGS WILL GO WRONG. Don’t worry about it. For now: just get started! Be creative! Embrace the unknown!
But most importantly of all – HAVE FUN!
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