Throwing office events is always a bit of a wildcard — they can generate buzz and contagious excitement, or they be a huge bore that leaves people questioning why they showed up in the first place. Yikes! If you’re planning an event — no matter if it’s a small meetup or an industry-wide conference — accessibility and value should top the list of what you and your company are striving for. Read on for seven smart questions to ask while you’re planning; answering these questions will ensure that you organize a truly enjoyable event for all!
What’s the value for our attendees?
A successful event is one that offers true value to each attendee, be it from listening to a speaker, connecting with panelists, or participating in useful and applicable breakout sessions. Other event benefits might include enjoyment or an offering of exclusive services or products that make attendees’ lives easier or more fun. Working with a tight budget? No problem! Photo-worthy walls, sponsored sessions and giveaways, and other creative touches always make a big splash.
Is our event easy to get to?
It’s all about location, location, location! When traveling to an event or even finding the main entryway is difficult, the initial stress can end up dragging down the entire experience — no matter how great the main event is. Select a venue that is accessible by public transit, offer easy drop-off and pick-up locations, or provide ample parking. If you can’t find something that fits the bill, consider enlisting vans or shuttles to help attendees get to the front door.
Does the venue set the tone and represent us/our mission?
The actual space you use for your event has real merit — it can help set the tone for your event before the agenda even kicks off. Use this to your advantage by picking a place that feels on-brand and completely suits your set-up, be it lively or more intimate.
Do we have a quality guest list?
Surprisingly, one of the greatest benefits you provide during your event is a solid guest list. After all, the opportunity to connect with other attendees in the industry or field can be a game-changer for any individual and their career. Does your agenda attract a specific type of guest? Have you invited people from relevant companies and backgrounds? If your event is open to everyone, do your best to collect relevant info (such as names, job functions, industries, interests) about people who join so you can follow-up and use it in the future.
Do the refreshments facilitate mingling?
Since a good event is about facilitating connection and offering value to guests, you may think about offering refreshments that don’t totally steal the show or take away people’s full attention. Lite bites and refreshing drinks work well as they make it easy for people to graze, snack, and move around without having to sit down; even better, these foods don’t typically call for utensils! Think about vegetarian/vegan food options and non-alcoholic drink selections during your planning too — it’ll matter to guests who don’t indulge in the typical options.
Is our agenda clear and with a purpose?
Your agenda will keep the event moving along and leave people feeling entertained, inspired, and engaged. Depending on the goal of your event, consider blocking time for mingling, panels, breakout sessions, and demos. Send your agenda out ahead of time, share it in any event app you might be using, and keep copies on hand as people come in the door. Fan favorite Creative & Cultivate publishes conference-specific landing pages and posts before an event to let people know what to expect, while media companies like Salesforce, Brit + Co, and Refinery29 use social media to share parts of the agenda and get people excited before an event even takes place.
How will we follow up?
A good event doesn’t need to end when people walk out the door; in fact, follow-up can keep you, your company, and your mission top of mind. Swag bags and gives can leave a lasting impression while email offers and surveys can be a good way to collect feedback once the fun has ended.