“Where was it?”
“The Whitsundays. Had a ball!”
“What was the event about?”
“Sales. Usual stuff.”
The ‘usual stuff’. If that’s what your last event was like, chances are your event manager didn’t have a clue.
Anyone can find you a great venue, stunning catering, fun activities and a memorable MC.
However, the best event managers will find out from you what you need your event to do. Or, if you don’t know, they’ll help you define the need.
The best event managers will get to understand your business, your goals, your challenges and your people.
Only then will they work with you to make absolutely sure your event does what it MUST do: motivate, inspire, foster change and reinvigorate teamwork.
You know the business imperatives that should drive your next event: sales growth, reward and recognition, education, launching new ideas and products, seizing opportunities or making your existing resources sing like the sweetest choir.
After 25 years as an event professional I continue to hear the conversation I quoted at the top of this blog. Every week I see or hear about event companies delivering the most fantastic ‘usual stuff’.
The event business should be about one thing: business. Event managers must be more than social organisers. They need to be payoff strategists who understand results and deliver the right outcomes.
Drawing from their experience, event managers who are true professionals will not be afraid to tell you what can work, and what won’t. They’ll talk more about targets than canapés. And they’ll ask you what you want your event to achieve long after it’s over. You see, an event shouldn’t just be an event – it should be an immersive campaign that resonates, and even amplifies, over time.
Most events aren’t cheap. That’s why I believe clients must focus on their events as an investment, not simply a cost. Event managers and their clients need to agree upfront on the risk/reward factor. The best event managers will be able to eliminate risks and maximise rewards.
Events need to engage audiences intellectually, emotionally and behaviourally. Delegates need to walk away from an event understanding and buying in to your messages and underlying strategies. Results must be measurable.
I believe that for most corporate or organisational events a new perspective is needed; a fresh perspective that demands a new approach to event design. That’s why clients need event professionals who are, in fact, professional in their approach and experience, and empathetic to clients’ ambitions for their event.
Working with your event manager you have to apply the ‘outcome blowtorch’ to every element of your event. You should ask this question of every decision you make: how will this impact on the desired results? If the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘very little’, you obviously need to take a different tack.
There are four other fundamental questions which should form the basic strategic blueprint for an outcomes-focused event:
- What does the audience already know?
- What is the desired strategic shift?
- How do we want the audience to feel?
- What are the behavioural changes and results that we can measure after the event?
The answers to these questions will help you deliver a powerful event that guarantees a lasting effect on your people and transfers back to your business.