Elements of a successful event

8 Oct

Do you attend many networking events? I have gone to my fair share. Some are better than others. Here’s what I think makes a good event:

1) A topic. I appreciate that happy hour events draw people interested in getting a drink after work, but they don’t inform or give you anything to talk about. Having a topic and a speaker gives events an edge.

2) Allocating time to networking. Many times there is a speaker and/or a meal and no time to meet and mingle.  Specifically allocated meet and mingle time is very important.

3) Easy access. If you are asking people to drive to your event, make sure there is plenty of parking (preferably free). If you want people to take public transport, then be close to the bus/subway stop.

4)The right price. Too expensive can be a real turnoff to people. The price should reflect the value, but it should also be within the range of other similar events. This morning I saw an event about social media that was comparable to other events I have been to/seen advertised, but was priced twice as much. Would I go? No.

5) Organizational ambassadors. Some people are shy. If you are hosting an event, have members of your organization or group be hosts: greet people, tell them about your group and introduce them to others.

6) Choosing  day and time carefully. Your event can be derailed by competing events. If possible, try to avoid conflicts.

Update: How could I forget this one?

7) Food and drink. There is nothing worse than going to an event that offers nothing. I once went to a wine and cheese that had neither wine nor cheese. Instead, we got leftover SoyJoy bars from another event and water. I kid you not.

What would you add?

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6 Responses to “Elements of a successful event”

  1. Rick Wilson October 8, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    I would add mailing invitations in addition to advertising online and in print and broadcast methods. A well produced mailer sent to a targeted mailing list will do wonders for increasing the number of attendees.

  2. Deborah Brody October 8, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks RIck. Of course, you are right. Inviting the right people will help your attendance!

  3. scormeny October 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Great list! In particular I have to agree that #2, making time to actually network, is a no-brainer that MANY organizations overlook.

    Another one that I would add: Nametags! In my field, web design, I know a lot of people virtually but not necessarily in person. Putting the name with the face is generally a real pleasure. I know some people don’t like nametags, but I think for networking they are really useful and I find it frustrating to go to events that don’t have them.

    • Deborah Brody October 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

      Sara, I agree that nametags are important, preferably the preprinted kind. I dislike the Hello, my name is kind!

  4. Chuck T October 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Both of these issues are actually solved by Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.com) which is a free tool, unless you charge for your event.

  5. JDGarza November 21, 2009 at 2:00 am #

    Another item to include would be writing materials. A pen and note pad is key. These can be used for notes and/or for group work.

    Another note regarding location would be lodging at and/or near event site. Also, a location equally accessible to all participants might be a consideration.

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