From conferences through to celebrations, staging a successful live event can be difficult to get right. But if you want a significant return on the investment of time and money that you are making, there are certain key issues to consider and address – which is why many organisations choose to use an agency to create and run their event. However, whether staging an event using in-house staff or bringing in external help, there are some golden rules to follow which can help to ensure success.
1. Set your primary objective. The first and most important principle, this is also something that most people either brush over or omit completely. When staging an event, the very first step is to define your audience and from that, clarify its purpose. If you don’t know the target audience, you can’t define your objectives – and if you don’t know what you are aiming to achieve, it’s unlikely that you ever succeed.
2. Engaging the audience. Obviously, it‘s important to have an interesting and stimulating event at the core of the process, but this is only part of the story. If you have a message or objective to deliver, make this clear to the audience prior to the event – whetting their appetite for what is to come. Once the main event is over, follow up the message, inspire people to act on what they have seen, heard or learned so that there are tangible outcomes.
3. Creating the right environment. Simple things like room layout, seating arrangements, speaker position and availability of refreshments all have an impact. These can all directly affect engagement and audience interaction. Using appropriate technology also plays an important part in this – and pretty much all the golden rules.
4. Make it fun. Live events should aim to bring people out of their comfort zone, to challenge and break down barriers. Whilst it’s important to be professional, humour is an important component of any event and will automatically enhance engagement and interest. Be creative; employ a range of learning styles and make the event memorable.
5. Measurement. The only way to ensure value for money is to measure the success of an event. Useful strategies include comparisons of pre and post event questionnaires, and satisfaction surveys, whilst cost benefits can be analysed by comparing sales figures or reductions in staff turnover.
Using an agency to plan, stage and measure your event is often a sound financial investment. These people are the experts and can achieve in days what it could take an in-house team weeks to achieve. Whilst managers may be eager to save money in these cash strapped times, removing staff from the job that they are paid to do in order to become an event organiser is not a wise use of time and resources. Using a boutique agency like Primary who know their niche market inside out is almost always the most cost effective route. Ultimately, staging an event is an investment and yields the best return if thoroughly researched and carefully planned – preferably by the experts.