Events: Maximize Your Connection

People want to connect and network at your event.
There are literally thousand of conferences and events globally each year. The options are endless it seems and attendees carefully select what events they are going to attend and why.
As an attendee myself to many events I look at the following when choosing to select an event:

  1. Location – Do I like the location? Have I ever been in that city or country? Can I build a trip around this event?
  2. Time of Year/Weather – Is it going to be in Arizona in July? Or in Boston in December. You get the drift…is it going to be pleasant or not? My preference is locations with decent weather, preferably sunshine, but not blazing hot where I can’t get out and enjoy the local scene.
  3. Topics/Content/Speakers – Who is speaking and what are they talking about? Is this something I need to learn to grow my life or business? Do I generally like the speakers? Are there speakers that I’d love to connect with?
  4. Overall audience demographic – Based on the topics and speakers, I look to see what kind of audience will show up. Are they my target market or one I am interesting in breaking into?

You may notice that price didn’t show up in my list. Money is the LAST thing I look at because if these 4 are a yes for me, then buying a ticket is a NO-BRAINER.
With that being said, if one of these 4 points is off I really sit down with myself and have to determine if it’s really something that I want or need to attend. If it’s not a Fuck Yes, then it’s automatically a NO.
I can gain from any event that I attend as it helps me create better content for you, my audience. I look at events through a different lense than you do as being an attendee only.
I really want to focus on one point here today though that many event creators miss.
One of the TOP reasons that people attend events is this:
People want to connect with people at events.
Your location may be awesome. Your content may be off the charts incredible and it is expected to be good. It’s the audience and speakers you bring in that is attractive to most attendees.
I have attended events globally and paid thousands of dollars to attend while I’ve not attended local events that cost $20 bucks. What they are creating with their mix of content, speakers and target audience is what induces me to go or pass it up.
Who and what you attract lends to the experience of the event for everyone. Are you creating opportunities for people to connect? Matt Heinz recently shared a post on LinkedIn about how he maximizes his time at events. If you read through the comments you will see similar responses to what Matt offers up.
Event Creators have this mindset that everyone is going to LOVE every session and all the sessions will be full. I’ve heard event creators promise and guarantee speakers that they will have full sessions and then have it not happen for a multitude of reasons.
A large majority of your attendees are going to be entrepreneurs or employees of companies who still have to show up for conference calls, sales calls, and other various virtual meetings or engagements while at your event.
Based on your audience and how Matt and many others maximize their time at events, you can make better choices when building out your agenda.

  1. Pay attention to WHO is in your audience or WHO you are trying to attract. When you are really clear on the audience, you can create an experience that they will want to attend, participate and fully engage in. Remember, they are coming for the experience and to meet other people. Your content is expected to be good. There is no forgiveness for shitty content in this day and age. Build your event around your audience not around your ego.
  2. Create space in your agenda. You don’t have to overload your event with content. The overwhelm factor is very real and we can only retain so much after a while. Let me be clear, your content needs to be top notch, but you don’t need to overdo it on quantity. When I say create space, I mean, create more breaks, more networking opportunities, more down time, more opportunities for people to gather. You can create activities that get people to engage and connect with each other as a session rather than load them down with another 30 minutes or an hour of content.
  3. Don’t change your agenda midstream. I’ve seen clients and other events decide to change up their agenda in the middle of the event or basically just throw the agenda out. Please for the love of your event planner’s sanity, DO NOT DO THIS. There is a time for things to just flow, but if your event is set with a pretty firm agenda and you have business owners attending your event you need to understand you just blew their own agenda out of the water. As I stated above, many of your attendees will schedule calls and meetings around the breaks in your event. If you decide to throw caution to the wind and wing your agenda, you’ve officially lost those people. While they definitely want to attend your event, they may have money on the line with client calls and meetings. You took them out of the game and you changed the energy of the event. This causes frustration and angst, FOMO and irritation.

These points may seem obvious to most, but when you are building out your event they can be easily forgotten. Many event creators build their event on their own personal agenda and the results that THEY want to achieve, but they forget that the people attending have their own agenda. If you can find that sweet spot when creating your event everyone wins.
Are you ready to create your next live event experience? Book a call with me to discuss your ideas.

Photo credit: Marcy Browe Photography

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