In an ideal world, every event would go off without a hitch – there’d be plenty of happy people, plenty of fun/productivity (depending on your goals), and plenty of praise to go around at the end. Unfortunately, in this real world, even with as awesome as events can be, many still have room for improvement and, instead of praise, many professionals find themselves in a finger pointing frenzy once their events are over.
If everything wasn’t 100% perfect at their event, instead of moving forward by seeking out opportunities to improve, many professionals get stuck playing the post-event blame game for far too long. This is a problem because events have so much potential to be truly meaningful experiences for the organizations, companies, and individual professionals involved; if we could all just learn to get along and work together so we can all get the results we need to feel successful.
So, what can be done? My top recommendation is simple – find a way to avoid the one issue that causes more knock-down, drag out blame battles than any other: poor attendance (the dreaded slow trade show, the soul crushing empty session, and so on). After all, no one ever complains about too much “buzz,” too much interaction, or too many great leads/connections, right?
Now, depending on the type of event, there may be many activities – networking, education, exhibits, etc. – to fill. You are just one person, so this can’t all fall on your shoulders, can it?
Well, the good news is: if it’s an individual exhibitor’s booth or an individual speaker’s session that’s struggling for attendance, that’s not entirely on you. In fact, I’m known for saying “it’s the event organizer’s responsibility to get people to the convention city/venue; it’s the individual exhibitor’s (or speaker’s or sponsor’s) responsibility to get the right people to their specific booth (or session or activity).” However, helping those individuals is a nice thing to do…just saying.
On the other hand, if it’s the event’s activities in general, that’s a bit of a gray area responsibility-wise. Let’s explore:
First, who cares about the activity’s attendance/success?
Each activity will have a set of interested parties. For example, many organizations will tell their new members that they “will only get out of this organization what you put in” or that membership is “only as valuable as you make it.” The same is true for event participants, regardless of their specific role in participating; if they don’t make the most of their participation, they won’t see the value.
In other words: identifying anyone who is investing their time, money, or manpower in an event activity, means identifying those who have a reason to want it to be successful and, more importantly, a reason to take responsibility for ensuring that it is successful.
Next, who can influence the activity’s attendance/success?
Each activity will have potential influencers too. For example, professionals decide to attend a particular speaking session based, in part, on whether they are familiar with (or interested in) the speaker, the speaker’s topic, etc. As such, that speaker can have a lot of influence over their potential audience and event organizers will often call on them to do more than just present one session – even little things, like making an appearance at the evening reception can be a big help to increasing attendance and event satisfaction.
In other words: as they say, “if you have the power to act, but don’t, it isn’t fair to complain when things don’t go your way.” Identifying those who have the power to support your event’s success and encouraging them to take responsibility for doing so is another good place to start.
In the end, it’s everyone’s responsibility to promote the event activities
Every participant (who has a reason to want the event to be a success) and every influencer (who has the power to influence others) is responsible, whether they want to be or not. It’s just a matter of showing them why and, then, supporting their efforts to act!
If you’re an event organizer and would like to empower your team to promote your event activities, please join me and my friends at etouches for a free webinar on Tuesday, February 28 on this topic (details here).
If you’re an exhibitor and would like to take responsibility for your trade show traffic (or an event organizer who’d like to encourage your exhibitors to take responsibility), please join me at EXHIBITORLIVE for a half-day workshop in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 12 on “10 Ways to Generate More Top Quality Booth Traffic” (details here).
Join Robyn on Tuesday, February 28 at 2 pm (Eastern)!
Learn how you can hand over the power of your onsite event promotions to your team on Tuesday Feb. 28th! In this webinar, you will learn how to empower your team to continue driving traffic to your educational sessions, networking receptions, and other important activities, on your behalf, throughout your event.
About the Author
Robyn Davis is a Trade Show Strategy Specialist and the Owner of When I Need Help (WINH). That means, Robyn works with event organizers (as a speaker, trainer, and consultant) to help them help their exhibitors squeeze even more value out of each event. Robyn has presented educational sessions at prestigious industry events like IMEX America, EXHIBITORLIVE, and HCEA Connect.
Written by: Guest Author