What I have learnt from running events

June 10, 2020

In the current modern business world, new ways of staying connected with people are always being sought after, and this has never been more important than now. More and more businesses are using online software to stay connected and this is proving extremely positive and is having a profound impact on business to business relationships as well as colleague relationships, across the world.

Face-to-face events in "normal circumstances" are still however invaluable for both the attendees and the organisers, as they allow for better networking and building relationships, and a stronger engagement during the event.

Running events online can be just as successful as face-to-face events, when tailored to the right audience and topic content. Although online and face-to-face events have many differences, the same lessons can be learned from both:

1. By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail

You have spent months planning the event. You have sent the confirmation emails to delegates confirming the event details, and have all the speakers' presentations ready. The day of the event arrives, and you experience IT issues. The venue does not have the necessary computer cables to link to your laptop to the projector. The speakers are unable to logon to the online software to give their presentations. Not ideal right before your event is about to start. The solution? Practice, practice, practice. Contact your venue beforehand with plenty of notice and make sure they have all of the IT equipment you will require. Better still, arrange to go and visit them and run a trial with all cables and equipment you will need. That way when the day of the event arrives you will feel confident that things will run smoothly. Carry out a trial run with the online video conferencing software you will be using for your online event with some colleagues, to make sure you have covered all eventualities of using the software. Then organise a trial run with your speakers to give them the necessary tools and guidance they will need to run their event smoothly.

2. Check, check, checklist

There are many aspects to planning events and one of the most is important is to be organised. There will always be something that pops up unexpectedly, but if you have a checklist and have ticked all the boxes beforehand, then this will help in minimising any unwanted surprises! When running an event you will have attendees to contact, speakers to arrange, venues to pay and confirm catering numbers with, to name but a few. It is helpful to write lists as the time of the event grows nearer. For example, write a list for tasks to be completed a month before the event, a week before the event, the day before the event, and the day of the event. Also then write what needs to be done following the event. Even though you may think that you will of course remember to do certain tasks, sometimes the simplest of tasks can still be forgotten if you become busy with other tasks. A checklist eliminates that need to have to try and remember everything that needs to be done and allows for a smoother running of the event.

3. Turn a negative into a positive

No matter how much time and effort you put into planning an event, and tick all the boxes on your checklist, unfortunately there will be times where you will be unable to please everybody. It could be complaints about the catering at the venue, or criticism of the speakers presentation content, or communication issues with the online video conferencing software. Whatever the issues may be, it is important to always ask for feedback after every event. Ask for scores on every aspect of your event, analyse the data, and use this to learn from your event and this will allow you to make any necessary changes so that your next event is an even bigger success.

Every event can vary hugely but there is always something to be learned from every one. When running events it is important to be open-minded and flexible and that way you can be constantly striving for improvement to benefit your attendees for next time.

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