In 1996, Bill Gates published an article titled, “Content is King” – a phrase now so ingrained into our lives and into the event and meeting planning process that many are questioning if it is still relevant. So, does content still play a role in the design of events? I truly believe so.
While Bill Gates was talking about content on the internet, he said that although practically anyone can create content and distribute it at very low cost, “those who succeed will propel the internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”
I love the idea that this can also relate to events. For I believe, those who succeed in creating an event where content is central to every element will propel their event forward as a place of ideas, experience and products.
No longer can an event planner – whether it be an agency, association or corporate – rely on a great venue, amazing food or appealing décor to ensure their event stands out to their audience.
In our world, where time is a limited and valuable resource, events need to be relevant to entice people to attend. It is easy for an event planner to get caught up in making their event look good, tasting every item on the menu and selecting the best entertainment their budget will allow. But, the impact of the event will be very short lived if everyone goes home thinking, “I had a great time, but what was the point of me being there?”
Here are my tips on how to ensure your event content remains relevant:
Focus on their objectives – not yours.
Event Management 101 tells you to ‘define your objectives’. In 2018, I challenge you to ask, not what your objectives are for the event, but what are those of your attendees?
By focusing on the objectives of the audience, the entire event can be designed with content that is relevant to them. When this happens, the audience will leave feeling they have achieved what they came to achieve and much more.
Same message – new delivery.
At AIME 2018, the team behind C2 Montreal discussed the issues and trends facing our industry – and the way they presented it had me thinking long after the event concluded.
It wasn’t what was said – I’ve heard the message many times before – but how it was delivered that stood out to me. From using colour to split the group into like-minded individuals who then discussed the topic among themselves to create their own answers (teach a man to fish and he will be fed for life); through to holding sessions in ball pits or turning off the lights to minimise inhibitions and encourage sharing – each session they delivered was engaging, interactive and memorable.
Limit the messages.
This might seem like a no-brainer but one common event trap, especially in conferences, is offering too many concurrent sessions, too many speakers and too many presentations!
By the end of the event, the audience has glassed-over eyes, an over-stimulated brain and has forgotten the opening keynote in which the conference organiser invested the lion’s share of their speaker budget! When designing your program, focus on one key message and one solid take away – which leads me to my last point…
Have a specific post-event action plan for your audience.
So much focus is placed these days on getting an emotional response from audiences and on the knowledge that presenters want to impart.
To make an event relevant, I believe the focus should be on what change you would like the audience to make as a result of attending your event – what do you want them to do after the event?
Tell your audience what you want them to do – remember to focus on their objectives not your own; but give them an action plan they can implement as a result of attending your event.
If you have read this far, I hope you enjoyed my tips on making your event content relevant. Feel free to reach out to me and say hi – I am always up for a chat, and I take my coffee white with one!