Events are back and they can be good for business… especially if they are done well.
With this in mind, we recently surveyed Marcomms Professionals to find out more about creating successful events. We were curious to know the reasons why Marcomms Professionals put on events and industry insiders shared five reasons…
This article explores one of the five reasons given for running events. We’re exploring it here with the aim of arming you with new insights that will help you when it comes to creating successful events in the future.
You will want to know this information because it will:
1. Help your company improve its ROI on events
2. Help you in your career (because this article shares information few others in the industry have been privy too!).
This article will focus on how events can be used to build relationships because building relationships is one of the 5 reasons Marcomms Professionals run events. But before you jump to conclusions and assume you know everything you need to know on this topic, pause for a moment and consider this…
In this article, we’re not just going to give you the research results. We’ve pulled together golden nuggets from event industry providers such as event production companies, PR experts, venue finding services and professional speakers, so you can see the bigger picture, and get insights into how to create successful events that have relationships at their heart.
Creating a successful event with the intention to build relationships
Whenever people are in a room together relationships will develop. That’s a given. Marcomms Professionals reported that the reason to run Relationship Driven Events is to create an opportunity to meet and mingle with the supply chain and use a speaker as a focal point for the meeting.
What’s not ‘a given’ is how you build those relationships and the strength of the connections you make while you are in the room together. An event that’s constructed well, will have the connection element built in from the start.
Many events are put together with networking in mind, and while the intention to ‘network’ and ‘build relationships’ is a good one, it is not a disputable purpose, and this creates a problem…
The problem is: without a definition, an event lacks a sharp purpose. Lack of a clear, deeply defined purpose is the number one mistake that happens at the moment of event creation.
Failure to examine the assumptions behind the events purpose inevitably leads to replicating old, staid formats, that offer little return on investment and in some cases, the event may even disengage the people you were hoping to engage. Your event is an opportunity to create something memorable and transformative.
How to build a memorable event with relationships at the heart and centre
To create a successful event the theme of the event has to be:
1. Specific and narrow – it has to sharpen an idea in the mind of attendees.
2. Unique – you must figure out what’s different about it to any other event like it in your industry. Thinking of it like this makes the people invited hungry to be there, and it also creates curiosity in the industry from those not invited, i.e. those who are not clients or customers or suppliers.
3. Different – Your relationship event has to be something other events are not. A good event should have a disputable purpose that acts as a filter. For example, all events should be uplifting and inspiring. That’s not disputable. What is disputable is an event that looks at how open communication enhances business growth. A disputable event tells you who needs to be in the room and why – and who to exclude – driving buy-in.
Our guide 3 Secrets of Event Creation explains more on these three key areas
Highly desirable relationship-building events have relatable venues
Have you ever considered how important your venue is?
If you are building an event that is going to (A) Build relationships; and (B) Lead to sales growth, it’s important to consider the impact the venue has.
The venue ideally supports the disputable purpose. For example, if you are talking about open communication, it may make more sense to hold the conference at a venue conducive to open communication. For example, you won’t want guests to feel restricted by space. You may want a venue that supports communication, for example, this could mean a venue that has a connection to how nature communicates.
Carina Booker helps event organisers find venues. She says, “Space is of course very important as is natural daylight, but the most vital aspect for any event is a venue that offers impeccable customer care and service standards. A beautiful venue is nothing without fabulous service and friendly staff who will ensure your event is both successful and memorable. There are many venues that get this right. Exclusive Hotels, for example, epitomise everything that 5-star hotels should be, stunning venues, amazing facilities and wonderful service and staff. As far as I am concerned it all goes hand in hand.
Green Leader, Sharon Jackson helps leaders understand climate change and how to work with nature for the good of the planet and every living species on it. She says, “The most powerful magnet for relationship building through events, is ‘relevance’. By that, I mean relevance at every level of the event from the venue to the catering and to the selection of people in the room, in a way that makes ‘collective sense’ to all attendees. Everything about the event should be relevant to, and congruent with, the event aims and expected outcomes”.
Sharon Jackson’s ESA venue in Crete has been purpose-built with sustainability relevance in mind – natural materials, zero carbon and no single-use plastics.
Sharon says, “The impact of being surrounded by a beautiful natural setting is congruent to the aims of sustainability leadership. This experience of shared sensemaking becomes a powerful anchor for the creation of long-lasting relationships between people from across the globe”.
While the venue is vital to the success of the event, so too is the next consideration…
Highly desirable relationship-building events have considered the event production
With a clearly disputable purpose and a well-chosen venue, your event is already on track for event for success. But there is more to consider…
Event production can turn an ordinary event into a historic one, that no attendee is going to forget. And they won’t just remember the event, the relationships built and the learning will be embedded into everyone who attended.
With an event designed to build relationships, making more sales, how do you set up the venue? What are the moving parts on the event? What will people need to do?
Joe Gilliver and his team at, The Chameleon Agency, specialise in event and experience design. They focus on helping businesses engage, inform and inspire their audiences.
Joe says, “When it comes to designing an experience to enable relationship building you should think about what steps can be taken in the lead-up to the event to start creating connections. This can then be brought to life and further enhanced at the event, not just by the design of the environment, but also through focused activities designed to connect the right people. Ultimately this helps make the relationship-building process more effective, and as targeted as it can be.”
Highly desirable relationship building events have considered the speakers & facilitation
It makes sense to focus your audience’s energy in two ways:
1.Inwards – on the events purpose
2.Outwards – on the bigger picture
For example, if you were thinking inwards on the events purpose you will bring in a keynote speaker who can expand the audience’s mind on how open communication can result in growth.
Keynote speaker, Steve Sims is known as the Real Life Wizard of Oz because of his ability to make the unexpected happen through open communication. His ability to find out what’s needed to make deals happen has led him to work with Sir Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Rock Band Journey, and the Pope!
On the topic of open communication and increasing sales, Steve says, “99% of events try to seduce you with Mr X or Ms Y as the draw. The ideas is that the seduction of the speaker draws you to the event. Doing this means you miss the point of getting together, and you fail to focus on the issues sitting in the audience. Just solve those and the event will have been beneficial and a lot more memorable.”
When it comes to looking outwards at the bigger picture, event MC and facilitator Roy Sheppard knows the value of asking audiences those questions that may be left of field or even awkward. He brings people to life and engages them in new ways.
Roy says, “When you ask the very questions members of the audience are thinking but aren’t say, you can often hear a collective sharp intake of breath from them. This achieves a number of things; firstly, they get much-needed answers, but it also makes the event REAL. Audiences then fully engage because it has given them permission to have more meaningful and relevant discussions (agreed beforehand with the client of course!). A skilled facilitator also uses anonymous collaborative technologies which increases event engagement even further”.
Our article, The Ultimate Guide Hiring Speakers explains more about the process of hiring speakers including fees and what to expect.
We believe all events should be stellar events! To discuss the purpose of your next use our contact form. Consultations are free and we can explore the event theme with you and keynote speakers. We can event connect you with partners who can help you develop your event and make it a huge success.