When we explored the main issues and challenges event professionals have when it comes to building events, they told us that getting “buy-in” from attendees is one of their biggest problems.
A solution to this issue offered by our respondents is to create “team learning events” focused on the team’s interests and hobbies. This article explores this in more detail.
The four big event challenges organisers face
Overall event organisers told us they faced four challenges. They were:
- Buy-in – Everyone is giving up time, so events have to be engaging & worthwhile
- Finding speakers that fit into a 12-month strategy – the event must have relevance and not be an isolated activity. It must make sense to everyone
- Finding big enough venues – this was an issue, but hybrid events may now solve that problem
- Current health concerns were mentioned – the uncertainty that still surrounds Covid or another virus
This article addresses the top two challenges: “building buy-in” and “aligning the event to your organisations 12-month strategy”.
Creating events of interest
We believe that for events to be successful the event needs to do two things:
A) Be of interest to the people attending
B) Make sense to the attendees
By aligning an event to the company’s 12-month goals, the event will make immediate logical sense to attendees. They will see the alignment between what the company says it wants to achieve and the education and support they are providing. While this will make logical sense, the challenge the event organiser will still face is that, although the event will make logical sense, it may still not move the attendees emotionally or engage their imagination. But you can…
The way you engage your team is to develop your event around something that interests them and that helps them understand the business landscape they are looking to succeed in. Let’s explore this in more detail.
How do you create events of interest to your team?
The key to knowing what interests your team is to listen and show an interest in them. Any time you ask your team what they did last night or what they did at the weekend, you will likely hear something about what they enjoy or value.
If you look at this from a marcomms perspective, marketing professionals know one of the first strategic things we need to understand is the question about who we are dealing with. Listening to the team talk about what they do in their spare time will give you some “soft data” from which you can ask more questions or do more research.
Over time you may discover that your team may have similar interests, with possibly a few exceptions to the rule. It may be that you can build events around the main interests, or it may be that you use the enthusiasm and knowledge of a team member or two to lead and inspire others on a topic they only know about through the other team members, before an event.
Areas that generally interest people include:
- Food & drink
- Personal development
- Current affairs
It may also be that you build an event around something that has gained a lot of media attention, especially if you notice how your team is talking about it, and showing an interest. An example of this could be the recent interest in women’s football after England Lionesses won the world cup.
There are a couple of options at this point:
- Build the event around a celebrity who is known in the area of interest that aligns with the company’s goals
- Build the event around expert knowledge, which may come from a thought leader
Factors to consider when building the event
If you consider building an event around a celebrity the first question you have to answer is the question of budget. Celebrities invariably cost more money. Speaker fees for a celebrity are likely to start at £10,000. Also, because they tend to be more in demand, you may be restricted to their typical keynote and not get the nuances that relate to your company goals.
If budget is an issue, a lessor known speaker may be an option. Thought-leaders usually cost less, provide depth, and will usually bespoke their keynote to your needs.
Aligning team interests with business goals
The key here is to use your events to help your team to develop a greater understanding of the business landscape that will help them achieve a business goal. For example, the company may have set a marketing goal to achieve 20% growth. The marketing department might consider the options such as increasing sales, improving retention or developing a new product or service.
Once decided you are then looking for people who can share stories and inspiration that support that topic, for example, someone who can provide inspiration on innovation or someone who can relate a story that shows how they retained more business or generated repeat business through something innovative. If the growth goal is aggressive, you may also want to consider a speaker who can explore mental health or personal growth, helping the team to be kind to themselves and supportive of each other, but also aware they can be much more.
Other related articles in this series include:
- Education-driven – to bring in outside expertise to provide lasting value or to help new ideas stick
- Awards-driven – awards, prize giving & celebrations
- Objective-driven – i.e. client retention & requisition
- Relationship-driven – a networking opportunity to meet and mingle with the supply chain with the event/ speaker as a focal point of the meeting
We believe all keynote speakers should be Stellar Speakers – able to entertain, connect with an audience and make a positive impact. As a unique speaker agency representing change-making keynote speakers, we provide expertise to help you manage your budgetary expectations and provide realistic options. We provide a preferred partner’s service base, so that partner clients get everything they need, lowering your risk as a booker of speakers, so you can make your choice about your next speaker with confidence.