We have all been there: after weeks of planning and putting out fires, your yearly conference has come and gone. Everything seems to have run smoothly but then it is time to gather the evaluations. You did not get as many responses as you had hoped for, but you are happy for the ones you got… until you read the feedback. As it turns out, not everyone is as happy with the conference as you are – far from it.
Now you are sitting there wondering what went wrong and what you could have done differently. Well, no need! We are here to help you. Instead of overthinking your past mistakes, read our list of the most common mistakes people make when planning an event (you probably made most of them.)
1. You are putting your audience to sleep
Having a one way conversation with your audience is so 2010 – it is time to take your meetings into the 2020’s! No one is going to have the energy or mental capacity to listen to one person speak for hours without a break, it is also hard for your audience to retain all the information you are spewing at them. It is time to find a new way to communicate with your participants – dialogue is the new monologue and the perfect way to go. It is important to involve your audience in your conversation, this will help create a good experience for your audience and also help them remember the information they are given.
2. You assume your audience will come prepared to your meeting
It seems obvious that grown adults should be able to find the information they need before showing up to a meeting or event – but this is not always the case. Sure, most of us are capable of reading an email and make sure that we bring the things we need to the meeting – but there is always going to be at least 4 people that either felt that they didn’t need to read the email, didn’t see it, or forgot. So: thinking that you as the event planner don’t need to anticipate this is a big mistake. Make everything as simple as possible for your attendees – make it easy to find information, location, program…and make it super easy to find any preparational material they need to check out before showing up.
3. You are not adapting the information to your audience
The old way to plan conferences – sending a calendar invite and an email containing the program and other information, saying the same things over and over to everyone once they show up to the event, and then give them a paper evaluation to fill out at the end of the day – is over!
To make sure that your attendees are staying engaged and get the most out of the event, you need to adapt the information to your audience. What do they want to know and when is the best time to tell them about it? Think about how you can guide your audience through their experience before, during and after your event.
4. You are not doing enough to keep your audience’s attention
As a speaker you have on average 7-8 minutes before people mentally start drifting off. This means that your audience will have a hard time recalling what you said during your presentation or speech if you don’t find a way to catch and keep their attention before distraction sets in.
5. You forget to have fun!
No one remembers a boring event! When you are planning your conference, it is common to just focus on the information that needs to go out to the audience and forget about the way they will take in and process the information. It is important to activate and engage your audience so that both you and your audience can get as much out of your event as possible. So remember to think of fun and engaging ways to activate your audience during your event, it will make your event more memorable for your audience and increase your ROI!