1. No Specific Audience
“If you build it, they will come.” This epic sounding statement is sadly not true in most circumstances and can result in a lot of time, resources, and money down the drain. Define your target audience by asking the following questions.
- What are the key demographics? Knowing the age, sex, marital status etc. of your audience will help streamline data gathering for the upcoming questions.
- What does this group care about? Recognize the main concerns and day-to-day life of your target audience to create a profile of your typical attendee. Having an understanding of what their wants and needs are can go a long way in establishing a long-term relationship.
- Which social media platforms do they use? Gain an understanding of where your audience spends their time and focus your digital interactions and content marketing there.
2. Weak Concept
What’s your story? Are you environmentally friendly? Is your cause worth buying into, or at least worth an hour of someone’s time? What is your “why” statement? And more importantly, why should anyone care? Connecting people to a strong idea has a much greater chance of resonating with guests, as opposed to the short-term glory of free food or a fancy brochure.
3. Obviously Stressed Out Event Staff
You’ve probably heard Jim Rohn’s wise words, “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” Not only is this quote motivational, but also scientifically accurate. This interesting article explains how our instinct to imitate others is hardwired into our brains. If you want a fun, friendly, and energetic crowd, you’ll have to lead by example.
In addition, there’s research behind the benefits of imperfection. Our mistakes can actually make us likeable as a result of The Pratfall Effect by making us more human and more relatable. At the onset of your next panic attack, keep these facts in mind, or reference Tip #4 in this post.
4. Ignoring TechnologyI’m all for face-to-face interactions and a solid handshake, but neglecting technology that can enhance your event is a no-go. Unless your event location happens to be on a desolate island off the coast of Antarctica, your Wifi had better be working. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s been nearly 20 years since Wifi was invented; it’s time to get on board. Plus, how can anyone post on Facebook about your totally awesome, new t-shirts if they can’t access the internet?
5. Lost Attendees, Slow-Moving Lines, and Hectic Registration
Not all those who wander are lost. That’s a great mantra if you’re practicing yoga, but not for your event! Is your registration area clearly labeled? Is there someone at the door greeting your guests? Can attendees have tickets ready to scan on their phones, or were there clear instructions to print tickets ahead of time? Set the tone by minimizing wait time at the door with mobile ticket scanning. If you’re too busy to mingle and escort guests, guide them to a “safe zone” (usually a food table can solve this problem relatively quickly).
6. Bad or Nonexistent Promo MaterialIt’s challenging to create an outstanding event if your website is difficult to navigate, hard to read, doesn’t exist, or just plain sucks. Similarly, it will be tough to create a stir if you’re hosting an annual or monthly event without documentation of last year/month’s awesomeness to get the crowd excited. Anticipation is key. As an attendee, half of the fun is marking my calendar, getting hyped, and looking forward to my next music festival or wine tasting event.
7. Too Much TechWhile not enough technology will put your event in a rut, too much will depersonalize the experience for your attendees. Humans want connection with other humans and are much more likely to buy from a person than a robot or computer. While a clever hashtag is important, add some human interaction by scheduling time to socialize, or implement non-cheesy icebreakers.
8. The Same, Old SchedulePeople will be more engaged, more likely to participate, and share your event if they aren’t falling asleep during the opening performance. Book different performers and speakers to keep fans on their toes, and attract a new and diverse range of guests. Also, be sure to spice up your schedule by highlighting the cool and interesting topics or people that will be featured. This could be as simple as changing the way you format your titles to elicit a more emotional response. Example: “Stress Management Lecture” is less intriguing than “How Stress Can Lead You To Happiness”.
Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, learn from your mistakes and use these tips to enhance your event and stay calm in stressful situations. Remember that being perfect isn’t an option and some things are out of your control. However, having Wifi connection, a resilient attitude, and knowing your audience is completely in your hands.