With every event I attend, whether online or offline, my experience as an attendee is different. Depending on the venue, speakers, the content and the organisation of it all.
As an attendee, I often feel frustrated by things not living up to my expectations. And that seems to be the case with many other event-goers I spoke to. But a one-sided story never helped anyone and so I decided to talk to event organisers as well. To better understand their points of view, their motivations, intentions for and experiences with organising events.
The findings are rather interesting and point out at one particular area of event organisation that seems to be often overlooked. Quite an important one, if you ask me since it significantly hinders the profitability of business events!
But let me backtrack a little and share with you what event organisers had to say.
Intentions behind organising events
First, the reasons and intentions behind organising events seem to be pretty much the same for every organiser I asked:
🔸 Community and relationship building
🔸 Personal connections in real life
🔸 People collaborating with each other
🔸 Knowledge sharing, interactions and connections
🔸 Learning from the speakers as well as from each other
And those are the very same reasons people attend business events for. Great, we have an alignment!
The event execution part
Where it starts to be more interesting though is the event execution part. Again, every business owner I talked to desires to create amazing events for their participants. They are all visionaries with a big vision and lots of ideas about how their event should be and feel.
And that vision is predominantly centered around the experience participants have during the event aka whilst at the venue. The feel and smell of that experience, the food, the programme, the breakouts activities and so on.
But for some reason, not much thought is given to the pre- and post-event organisation. At least not in the strategic sense of the word. Yes, there is the pre-event part of ‘getting to know each other calls’, welcome emails, welcome in an event’s Facebook group messages etc. And after-event feedback and testimonial gathering too.
Yet, the pre- and post-event communication is often not considered part of the overall strategy for the event. And is even less often included in the overall business strategy.
In the words of Julieta Timane of workshopsforyou, when it comes to events (online and offline), “it’s important to set intentions, make sure that people are aligned and to keep them anchored in what we are doing.” Not just during the event aka whilst they are at the venue or glued to their computer screens (if attending an online event).
Event experience starts long before attendees reach the venue and ends long after they leave
Event experience starts long before your attendees reach the venue and ends long after they leave. And every single part of that experience counts into what they are going to remember about your event.
☑️ What they are going to say to others about your event.
☑️ Whether they are going to buy the next product/service from you.
☑️ Whether they are going to continue the journey you’ve started them on, with you.
☑️ Whether they are going to come back for more and ultimately, become your brand ambassadors.
The alignment is not just about the sounds and smells and feels of the actual event. It’s about how you make your attendees feel before, during and after the event and how anchored you keep them in your intentions throughout the whole experience.
It’s about making the entire organisation of an event strategically aligned to your bigger goal. And keeping your attendees aligned to the next step. As the business strategist, Maggie Giele, puts it: “the pre- and post-event communication is extremely important because then you are naturally guiding people to what you actually want them to do after the event”.
And not only that, if the experience you create is beyond a-m-a-z-i-n-g, you’ll have your attendees sing praises of you to anyone who’ll listen, getting you new clients as a result. Just what’s regularly happening to Ieva Luna with her Moonlight yoga retreats.
How to improve the ROI from your events
So if you’d like to improve the ROI from your events, I’d urge you to think about the above.
Be the visionaries. Focus on the vision. Incorporate it into your business strategy. Provide an amazing overall experience for your attendees. Take them on a journey. Guide them to the destination.
Make your events and your business, more profitable as a result.