That’s a few hours of my life I will never get back. Yes I did enjoy the canapes and the bubbles but what have I learnt. Alas it’s a question I have to ask myself all too often. It’s also a question I should never have to ask myself; if the corporate events planner (conference, seminar, team building, networking, launch…etc.) has done their job properly. Let me explain.
Changed or just well fed and watered?
How many times have I been told by event planners just how important it is to get the food right, enough chances to network and to get social. They say…if I get it wrong…they’ll complain. Bizarrely I can’t ever remember signing up to attend an event on the basis of what I am going to eat. I only sign up to attend a corporate event on the basis of what’s on the programme i.e. what am I going to learn, see, do and take part in. Don’t get me wrong, the provision of coffee and something to eat are very welcome but, they are not deal breakers.
Now that was a worthwhile experience
Let’s get back to event planning basics. An event programme should be constructed like a play scene-by-scene with every element considered by the event managers in terms of its impact, relevance and time taken. The content of the programme and its target audience will have been established as part of your pre-event market research. Yes I know this part is often forgotten about! Crucially you will have set a clear purpose for your event. What is your event trying to achieve. I call it the money action.
Event planners must design their event programmes to deliver the change in delegate behaviour they want – the money action
When delegates leave your event something has to have changed in the way they think of you, your company and its products or services. Otherwise what has been the point? For those of you I hear saying…. oh but you might meet somebody. I say to you I simply do not have the time to travel around events on the very remote chance I meet somebody I will ultimately do business with. I do of course network but only at events where first and foremost I am guaranteed to learn something.
To conclude: You should only sign up to corporate events on the basis of what they are going to learn. What is going to make you smarter, better able to do our jobs or run your business? The event planner must therefore consider how each element of the programme adds delegate value while ensuring it also delivers the required behaviour change you are seeking. When we get to evaluating the event it’s the behaviour change we need to measure and not how good the canapes were…on a scale of 1 to 10!
Don’t get me wrong I am the ultimate events groupie, I attend lot of events: what’s different is that at certain types of events I need to learn something while at others my requirements are more modest.
If you want to know all about the ‘how to’ of effective event programming then check out my in-house event training courses. As an event management trainer and coach, I have been helping first time and occasional event planners and students, right through to experienced event professionals develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events.
Chris Powell, The Event Expert
The Event Expert specialises in helping accidental and occasional event planners develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events. I deliver In-house event management courses and coaching programmes and books covering all types of public and business events.