Not too long ago, I attended an industry event that featured a number of different speakers and panels. Call it what you like (seminar, workshop, etc.), but this particular event was the kind where a company or meeting organizer rents out a large room in a hotel or conference center and invites experts and vendors to impart their knowledge and experiences. I’d attended similar events in my years of working at Investors Bank and other places, and as I watched one of the (not particularly interesting) speakers, I realized that the event could have been run better. I began to compile a list of items I’d be sure to have available if I was running such an event:
- Event App: There are a number of vendors who can provide a custom app for your event. The app can contain an agenda, a list of attendees, information about the speakers, directions, and even interactive features such as polls and games. This app can keep attendees engaged, and has the benefit of being able to be updated in real time.
- Online Feedback: My bugaboo is being given a paper form at the end of a long day and being asked to answer many questions about the event and individual speakers. 1) I do not want to answer all those questions at one time, 2) it has been a tiring day and I just want to get home, and 3) I don’t really think that anyone who works for the event will take the time to tabulate the answers on hundreds forms and then analyze the results, rendering my time wasted. Let’s scrap the paper form and move to an online survey that is emailed to me the following morning. Better yet, include multiple mini-surveys in the aforementioned custom event app, so that I can complete one after every speaker while it is fresh in my mind.
- Free Wifi: Some of us are expected to be available to the home office throughout the day of the event. Providing free wifi allows us the ability to get some work done without using our own data. This is especially helpful if the event has that custom event app.
- Refreshments: I’ve been to a few events that had snacks and drinks constantly available for the taking, not just at the prescribed breaks. This may not seem very important, but it is a great convenience when one does not have the luxury of bringing their own food, and it helps one to avoid the rush on chocolate chip cookies when breaktime is finally called. I'll never forget the time I was in the common area a few minutes before the session let out and an employee stopped me from taking a bottle of water. That was not a good experience.
If you are ever in the position of running an event for your company, perhaps the above can help your attendees have a more enjoyable experience!
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