„All the forces in the world are not so powerful, as an idea whose time has come.“
How to point out the omissions without pointing a finger at one who made it? Although I had doubts, I decided to publish this text anyway. Without finger-pointing.
Below is an example of practice from which much can be learned and learned immediately. It is better to learn from the mistakes of others, than from our own.
At the end of May, I attended a lecture, organized as part of an economic fair that lasted several days. I found out about it through social networks and by accident, because an event hasn’t been promoted.
I applied online and obtained information about the location and the schedule of maintenance. However, upon arrival, I realize that lecture is not in the hall that is listed in the program. I couldn’t find any information about the change that is made and there was no one whom I could ask.
Tip 1: If the event is complex and consists of several segments or programs that take place in different rooms or in different places, it is desirable to have an information desk where you can get all the information. If you believe that it is not necessary or do not want it, you can easily create a poster with a map of the event or the maintenance schedules and places. The poster should be presented in a visible place or at the event entrance. Visitors need information.
I checked again on the official website. I thought, maybe, I didn’t memorize it well. Information on the website remained the same, wrong one.
Tip 2: Update the information posted on the website and social networks and in all the places where the news about the event was published. You cannot control the publication in the media, but the information on the official website must be accurate. The official website is the first place where visitors check information about the event they want to visit.
I finally find out where the lecture. I came in front of the hall ten minutes before the lecture began. Lecturer came as well. He looked at his watch and decided to enter. I walked behind him. Ah, how embarrassing! We interrupt the lecture in progress, as we entered the stage where the talk took place. This hall has two doors, one leading to the stage and another at the back of the room where the seats are. But we didn’t know that.
Tip 3: As an event organizer, you need to know the area in which the event is happening. If something can go wrong at an event it will go – it is an unwritten rule. Therefore, please reduce that possibility to a minimum. Ensure that all the participants in your event feel comfortable – both lecturers and visitors. In this case, it was enough to put the information for visitors in front to the door or even to lock that door to completely prevent such unpleasant situation.
We were not the only ones that entered to that door. Lecturer on the stage was constantly interrupted. And he couldn’t concentrate. As if that was not enough, the girl from the organization, event moderator, stopped him in the middle of the sentence just to say that he needs to speed up his talk because of the other lectures. The program is running late.
Tip 4: Trainers are (usually) experts who invested their time to come to your event and made an effort to prepare a lecture. It is necessary to give them all instructions, including information about the time at their disposal – both for the lecture itself and for the interaction with the audience. Rushing lecturer in the middle of his expose is rude and unprofessional. Even if something is not going according to plan, lecturer needs to be informed about it before the presentation. The lecturer who has an experience will adapt his discourse to these new circumstances.
The presentation that I came to hear is ten minutes late. I am looking around the room, it is almost empty. There are only fifteen of us. I wonder how that’s possible. The lecturer is one of the most respected professionals in our region. This is the first time I am listening to him live, but I watched him online several times. People are paying to hear his lectures. Today’s lecture is free. The only reason that this presentation today isn’t visited well is because potential visitors were not informed. Otherwise, I am sure, this hall would be full or even overbooked.
Tip 5: Promote your event. Take advantage of all communication channels. If you do not have the funds for a promotional campaign, use your contacts. Also, be aware that, although they are swamped with information, journalists still publish news. The real news. Exclusive news. Interesting news. Ask yourself: What is it that is specific when it comes to your event? Who is it for? What is the program content? Who are the lectures? Answers to these questions will make your event stand out from the masses and give reporters a story. Speakers at your event are also your promoters. They spread a positive word about the event. If they don’t, ask them to do so. They won’t reject your request. They will promote your event because they will promote themselves, too.
The reason for a small number of participants can be a result of a wrong targeting, too. When registration for the event is online, the event organizer can have a clear picture of number or visitors and promote the event in a different way or to a wider audience.
At the end of the lecture, event moderator interrupt once again saying that time is running out. The lecturer is now speeding up his talk, getting faster over the slides and extract only the most important thing he wanted to say. He ends his lecture.
Tip 6: When organizing lectures, workshops, presentations and panel discussions, keep in mind that you should always leave time for questions and clarifications. Interaction with visitors sometimes is even more important than the official part.
We are leaving the hall hurriedly as if we were expelled. Event moderator, who will moderate following lectures tells us to stay to attend the next lecture on … I did not hear what is it about, as I already went out.
Tip 7: Collaborate with colleagues. Sounds logical, but still… First event moderator at the end of the lecture could tell us that there are some other presentations today. He could arouse interest and some of us would stay in the room. But he didn’t. He finished his job, not looking the bigger picture of the entire event, that he was just a small part of it. He forgot the most important thing in event coordination, behavior towards people.
This text contains just a few tips for event organizers. I wanted to show that each of this thing, even if we consider it small and inessential, significantly affect the valuation and general impression of the event.
The presentation that I came to hear fully met my expectation. Nothing could spoil that.