The success of your event will be defined by the content and how it is delivered. Compelling content will move people to attend an event in the first place and an engaging event is the best way to communicate clear messages and deliver a memorable experience for participants. However organising an event is a time-consuming, sometimes overwhelming task, and all too often the focus is on ‘how’ we deliver rather than ‘what’. Don’t let that be your downfall!
Are you designing the content of your conference or event to maximise the results for your organisation? True engagement is a real connection – that ‘lean forward’ moment when the audience is completely immersed in the content. Getting there involves a clear strategy and good storytelling.
Here are some simple questions to answer to ensure your event program works for your organisation and is the powerful, measurable part of your marketing mix that it can be.
1 Why are you holding the event?
All events should have a purpose, there should be a clear story to tell. Always clearly define your project objectives – what will be achieved by bringing this group of people together; why is it important? For example if it’s a sales kick off, the objective may be to launch a new product line to increase sales, or for an industry conference it could be to get the group to focus on ways to solve specific challenges and imperatives.
2 How do you want to influence your attendees?
With clear objectives in mind, drill down and develop your communication goals. Make sure you understand what your audience is thinking and feeling right now, and how you want them to feel during and after the event? This will help determine why they might attend your event in the first place, and ensure you design a compelling program that resonates with potential delegates. Remember, a good story is authentic, it makes a connection, it inspires action and it takes the audience on a journey.
3 What are you going to tell the audience?
Now you are ready to design your content to ensure the delivery of your brand or industry messages – tell your story.
Carefully plan timings and the structuring of the messages throughout the program, just like a good story the event has to have the right pace and flow to keep the audience interested.
A good design strategy is not just about the ‘event’, it includes a communication plan for before, during and after the event – across multiple channels.
Finding the right speakers to deliver the messages is imperative. With fully briefed, well-managed speakers who engage with the participants before during and after the event, you can be sure to deliver value to your attendees and provide a memorable experience.
4 How is the story going to be delivered to
Once you know what story you are telling, then you can determine the best way to deliver this in a way which will be appealing to your delegates. Consider the environment of the event and the engagement tools you will use to ensure everything the audience connects with supports the communication objectives you’ve set. If you focus on delivering maximum benefits to the delegates attending through good content design then your event is guaranteed to be a success every time! E
In the first of a new column, Executive PA shared Peta Moore’s advice for steering the message your audience is taking home from your events.
About the author
Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCO).