Having face-to-face meetings and events is invaluable. They help foster relationships, build trust, encourage openness and offer a way to have immediate and clear communication with others. In this day and age, it seems that online events are the only way to do events, but nothing could be further from the truth.
However, an in-person event needs to be much more exciting than sitting hour after hour for presentations that one could have watched online. In person, on-site events require something that will make the attendees want to do it again. There are many ways to make your event amazing. Let’s go over a few.
* Use the Best Technology You Can Afford – There is so much technology you can use today for on-site meetings and events that will help such as an app that will help like-minded attendees find and locate each other, and technology that will match up businesses that need each other. There is also technology that enables audience participation and questions to be asked and answered more easily. Get what you can afford that is above a traditional “presentation” type meeting.
* Choose the Best Location You Can Afford – If you really want people to attend your event, then the location does matter. Not only does location matter, timing the event right to coincide with something important in that location can also help so that attendees (given the time) can do both. For example, have an event in Washington DC during the time that the cherry blossoms bloom, or in the Ozarks during the fall colors.
* Make Sure the Food Is Awesome – You want to give people plenty of food choices. Today people care a lot more about their health than they used to. You may consider polling those who sign up for the event and pay about their food choices so that you can do a better job with food provisions.
* Someone Should Greet Everyone – If you have to hire greeters, do so. Nothing is worse than going to an in-person event and feeling like a nobody, with no one greeting you or helping you know what to do or how to get involved.
* Have a Meet the Speakers Special Event – Offer an upgrade to VIPs where they can have a dinner with the speakers at their table. Kind of like a “captain’s table” event on a cruise ship. People will pay good money to be able to hobnob with the speakers.
* Offer Breakout Sessions – If your event is large, having smaller breakout sessions with 10 to 20 participants with a speaker will be an amazing way to help people get closer. You can arrange them together based on answers they give in the questionnaire you give them at the time they register.
* Ramp Up the Content – The content that you and the speakers have at a live event should be even better and tighter than for a webinar or teleseminar. The speakers need spot-on slides, or visuals, and a good story to engage the audience.
* Attract Well-Known Speakers – Even if you can’t get a lot of well-known speakers, pay at least one well-known person to speak at your event. Do ensure that they’re relevant to the event and can speak to the target audience.
* Design for Relationship Building – Ensure that there are plenty of breaks, and even planned tours of the area around the event location. These are all networking opportunities for the individuals that come to the event.
* Be Specific about Priorities – Know what your point is for having the event before you even start, so that you can stick to your priorities. You don’t want to have an event that no one understands the point of.
* Build in Networking Opportunities – Set up after-hours drinks, dances, and other activities that can help people with networking. Do some in the morning, some at lunch, and some after dinner and some in the evening so that you can have a little something for everyone.
* Inspire and Motivate Action – Don’t just talk at your guests; talk with them. Invite them to comment, invite someone or a few on stage to tell their story in a spontaneous way. The more you can inspire them and motivate them, the better they’ll feel when they leave, and the more they’ll want to come back.
Making people want to come back involves a well-oiled and planned event. If you can afford to, hire an event planner to help you get everything organized well so that you don’t have to focus on much more than the content.