Whether an organization is hosting a large-scale conference or a small group workshop, gathering people together should always be purposeful. Every convening is an opportunity to create a powerful, productive audience experience. So how can organizations make the most of these events? Follow The Hatcher Group’s Five Cs of Events!
- CONTENT – First and foremost, events are a communications tool. Take time to prioritize what you want to share. WHAT are the key messages and material your organization wants to convey? WHY is the work valuable to explain and which ideas merit exploration? Next, think about HOW to deliver that content. What is the most effective format to engage your attendees: Do you want a high-energy speaker who roams the audience or a provocative debate among high-level experts? Deep dive group discussions or a video viewed by attendees that can then live online? Once you have determined your programming, consider WHO will be your best messengers and then invite them.
- CONNECTION – Target attendees who have an interesting, engaging perspective to contribute and can increase the impact of the network. While reaching as many people as possible is a common goal, high attendance numbers only tell one part of an event’s success story. We believe it is equally important to connect to the right audience – those who can shape an idea, advance the conversation, spark a movement. These people aren’t limited to foremost experts and visionaries, they are also the doers and practitioners in the field.
- COLLABORATION – There is no “me” in events. Event production takes a team effort to create an engaging experience that combines content with logistics in a smart, seamless way. Engage your staff and get them excited early, then, when necessary, energize a corps of reliable volunteers to support your big day. Give people a meaningful reason to buy in to your goals and share your vision. Externally, identify strategic partners – what other organizations share your vision and can provide helpful resources? Events offer a wide array of opportunities for people to contribute their talents, resources, and services.
- COORDINATION – How do you pull it all off? There is no such thing as a flawless event – our work wouldn’t be exciting if that were true! But meticulous planning is a critical component to an effective event. Clear goals and even clearer communication keep the planning process on track. Utilize a project management system that helps you anticipate and handle any curveballs throughout the process. There is nothing more satisfying than having all the elements – including program development, logistics, communications and outreach, and design – come together smoothly to produce an event that is successful on stage and behind the scenes.
- CREATIVITY – Be bold when you think about the best way to bring your content to life! The best events balance control with creativity. Your venue may have limitations or your timeframe could be tight, but every obstacle is an opportunity. Why not try something new? Get fresh with your format, trade out boring talking heads, turn up the volume! Visual branding gives your event an identity and a personality – make your event design memorable. Create an atmosphere for your attendees that captures their attention, connects to the topic, and engages them in the experience. A well-produced event has the ability to spark inspiration and spur action in your audience, every time.
If you would like to explore how to elevate your next event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jenny Beard, Vice President