Hosting strategic events is critical to delivering results – for the organizations hosting them, the planners executing them and the attendees learning, networking and solving problems at them. It may seem obvious given the economic, cultural, academic and social influence events have; however, the event community has recently started talking more in-depth about hosting more strategic events on a wider scale. So, what makes your event strategic? Here are my five pillars:
1. Ask “why?”
This is the first - and most important - step to take. The answer will define the rest of event planning process and guide you in every decision you’ll need to make while planning, executing and analyzing it. Why do you need to organize the event? Why should perspective participants attend? Why do you think it is worth the effort to attend? Ask yourself, your team, the event owner and your customers.
2. Align events with your organization’s strategy
Organizing events is time-consuming, and yet their contribution to the success of the business can be huge. With that in mind, identify what role events play in the company’s development. The only way events’ potential could be used to the fullest is to interweave them into what the company is already trying to achieve, and not to have them exist in isolation from an organization’s general strategy and mission.
3. Pay attention to details
Small details and nuances spread throughout an event are able to tell your audience how much you care and how much effort you’ve put into it. The details can be as big as a family-friendly concept woven into the event canvas or as small as a creative badge or a reminder included in the email with health and wellness recommendations. There are no set rules for which detail you should incorporate. What matters is a mindset that implies details matter: not for their own sake but rather as part of your thoughtful approach.
4. Put yourself in attendees’ shoes
There is no shortage in methods to find out what your attendees want, think and - thanks technology! - even feel. Use whatever is available to you as well as your knowledge and creativity, to understand your participants’ stance, what affects their participation, what drives them and what would make them come back.
5. Reflect on lessons learned
Reflection is powerful. It helps turn thoughts into actions; understand pitfalls and update current strategies and methods. Use it as much as possible and on all possible levels: for yourself, with your team, event stakeholders and audiences. That way you’ll be able to get the most comprehensive collection of ideas on how to execute your next event even more successfully.