Other than being dressed appropriately, weddings and professional events don’t have much in common, except for one big thing. There’s little to no planning for what happens afterward!
As one meeting planner told me: “The event is the thing. Check the box and it’s done. It’s like focusing on your wedding with no real thought about what happens after.” Another meeting planner shared: “Post-event engagement. That’s where I’m a loser. I’m burnt out and so is my committee.”
Here are 3 strategies to increase your event’s take-away value and “happily ever after.”
As a meeting planner, there are speakers you love to work with and then they are speakers who drive you crazy!
All you are trying to do is find speakers for your event who will present on topics that attract, share useful content, are energetic and motivating, and appeal to your audience. Sounds reasonable.
The problem is finding them. Even a speaker who looks good online might end up being boring, present on a different topic than agreed, or be a prima donna! Ugh.
As someone who has been on both sides of the speaker equation, I know what you’re up against. When I hired speakers while heading up Corporate Training for AOL, I was amazed at the range of ways speakers interacted with me and how they performed. These observations and lessons were not lost when I became a speaker and facilitator myself. In fact, one of my personal measures of success is how easy I make the experience for the meeting planner.
Planning an event is hard enough without speaker challenges.
Here are three ways to avoid booking a prima donna speaker and book the perfect one:
Derek Hart of Get the Gigs Podcast and I talked about how to make a panel session exciting again! Meeting planners and audiences deserve it.
Here’s what we talked about:
- What are panels 1.0 and why are they boring?
- Standing up at the mic to ask a question doesn’t really work.
- There’s a lot of planning and a lot of moving parts that go into a Panels 2.0.
- If you’ve got a good keynote and a good topic, meeting planners are going to want to know, what else do you have to offer?
- How can an add-on service, like panel facilitation, allow you to go deeper with your audience? And…while you’re at it, increase revenue!
- Mary does a lot of work with women’s events.
- What were some of Mary’s game changers in terms of branding and marketing?
You’ve been there. You’re watching a panel discussion and one person starts to have “diarrhea of the mouth” (seriously, a meeting planner told me that). This is a classic Panels 1.0 problem.
There are others. Panelists give boring mini-presentations. Some panelists are too quiet and reserved. The moderator asks uninteresting questions, doesn’t keep the conversation moving, or talks too much her/himself. Perhaps the biggest problem with panels is that they lack the energy and interaction that audiences now demand, which is why I don’t recommend panels for any meeting.
Time to say goodbye to Panels 1.0 and Hello Panels 2.0.
Panels 2.0 are rooted in conversation. Today’s audiences don’t want to just watch and listen to panels, no matter how interesting they may be. They want to be a part of it.
[bctt tweet=”Today’s audiences don’t want to watch and listen to panels. They want to be a part of the it.” username=”BodaciousMary”]
“If you create interaction, they will come” is a mantra you want to adapt when planning a professional women’s event. After nearly two dozen interviews with event and meeting planners, it was clear that creative ways to design fun, inspiring, informative interaction was critical.
Jeanne Elipani is the meeting planner for the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in technology, the WE15 by the Society of Women Engineers, which attracts over 9,000 attendees. When asked what are the biggest factors to their event’s success, Jeanne’s first response was “using an interactive formula.”
“It’s hard to attract younger generations” shared Tracy Orpin who plans the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) annual summit for 1300 and growing. Adding technology such as apps, highly relevant skill-based topics, and many interactive opportunities was key.
Here are three easy ways you can interaction to your event right now:
Recently in a conversation with Grace, an event planner about an association’s annual conference, she told me “We need to do a better job with networking. That’s what people said they want more of and I’m not sure how.”
It’s a frustration I hear again and again from meeting planners. You include build networking time and opportunities into your agenda, but somehow it’s still not enough.
Put yourself in the participant’s shoes. As a smart working man or woman, one of the top reasons you spend time and money attending live professional events is to meet new people. By meeting new people you might learn about a new project, discover a new career opportunity, or find a new client.
But networking at live events is awkward. More often than not, your rational brain is not in charge when it comes to networking. Instead your reptilian brain kicks in more times than you want to admit. It protects you from anything that feels scary of threatening. You hardly meet anyone because the whole process feels awkward, stupid or speechless.
Structured networking to the rescue! Structured networking instantly increases an event’s value by making it easy, comfortable, and fun.
[bctt tweet=”Structured networking instantly increases an event’s value by making it easy, comfortable, and fun.” username=”BodaciousMary”]
Here’s how to add a structure networking experience to your next event: