Expert insights

The 5 key questions to ask before your next event

20 December 2017 by Richard Shacklock

Follow our expert's essential, pre-event planning checklist to make sure that your next event is a success.

If you want to deliver an event with real impact, you need to make sure you’re getting the basics right. Asking yourself these key questions (put together by our expert team of event planners) should help you realise whether you’re on the right track…

1. Does my event have a clear purpose?

Before you start planning your next meeting or conference, think about the kind of content that you need to communicate. Does it require people to be in the same room? If your only plan is to read out PowerPoint slides, a much more economical way to reach the same level of engagement is to share the presentation digitally and discuss it via videoconference.

Top tip: If bringing everyone together, make sure you have value-adding goals in mind, such as networking, team building or a chance to immerse them in your brand.

 2. Have I thought about visuals?

With smartphone apps, Apple watches and Fitbits pinging or buzzing away at us all the time, presentations must fight harder than ever to hold the attention of audiences. A good way to do this is by using real-time interactive graphics, music, lighting or video. Visual presentations have been shown to be 34% more effective in achieving objectives than non-visual ones.

Top tip: Before a product launch, think about the kind of questions that may be asked, and prepare some funky graphics. Then, when someone asks, “When’s the launch?”, for example, your graphics operator can play a projected moving image of a date peeling off a calendar, with the answer. Make it eye-catching, and attendees are more likely to pay attention and remember it. A good graphics operator should also be able to put together visual answers in real time.

3. Will people remember it?

The key to an engaging event is providing something that helps people connect, while giving them a story to tell after the event.  We like to call these moments ‘energisers’; they bring people’s awareness into the room and keep them fully present.

For example, you could break the ice by getting the audience to participate in trying to break a Guinness World Record, such as seeing how many claps they can do in the space of five minutes. Or try out a dance move, like the zombie choreography for Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

Top tip: A nice activity that can help you link your current event to the next one is to invite delegates to make a paper aeroplane. Get them all to write down their names, and something they want to achieve, on the inside. Once the paper planes are thrown, they can be collected, saved and handed out at the follow-up event. That way, their creators can see if they have realised their goals.

4. Do I know my delegates?

It’s all very well having energisers and fancy motion graphics, but if they are pitched in the wrong tone for your audience, they won’t have as much impact as they could. Think about what drives the people going to your event, and really try to get inside their personalities so you know what they find interesting and exciting. Check out our tips for outdoor events and technology events for more inspiration.  

Top tip: If preparing a team-building event for a sales team, bear in mind that they’re likely to be goal-driven and enjoy a challenge. For example, an immersive ‘Special Agent’ game could tap into their competitive side. Each ‘agent’ could be given a code name and box of items to help them complete their tasks, with ‘missions’ sent to their phones using an app. Rewards for completing these tasks could come in the way of cocktails and points on a leader board. The overall winner could get an automatic invite to the next event, providing an incentive to engage, as well as creating anticipation for your follow-up.

 5. Do I have an event strategy?

Instead of thinking about each company meeting and event in isolation, think of them as links in a chain. Holding a series of six joined-up events over the year will make people feel part of something bigger and keep them engaged.

A good way to bridge the space between events is by using social media teaser campaigns. These could include competitions and tasty morsels of information about what to expect next. After an event, sending a round-up email with pictures and a news summary is a nice idea – but unless it looks ahead to the next event, it’s only creating buzz about something that’s already happened.

Top tip: Keep the conversation going and get your delegates excited about the next event with an unusual invitation or intriguing teaser. You could have the details of your next event printed on waterproof card, frozen in a block of ice and used as a melting table centrepiece. Invites can be so much more than an email, so use your imagination!

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit your details below.