Events are not hard to create, but do require advance planning, creativity, attention to detail and a few other things.
Venue – ensure you have a venue that can comfortably seat all in attendance; ensure it is well lit; and has a good climate control system; if the audio and video equipment are built in make sure they work well and you or someone at the venue know how to use it; the staff in New York City’s Digital Sand Box and Mountain View, California’s Computer History Museum are simply awesome.
Audio – the audio at your event is essential; if people can’t hear your speakers or the sound system is generating lots of noise then your attendees won’t enjoy the event
Video – it’s good to video tape your event so you can use the content to further connect with possibly customers, online, who could not make it to the event; I’ve hired videographers and at times I’ve done the video myself – both work; it just matters the quality of the end product and how much time you have if you decide to do things yourself.
Refreshments – for most events, especially those in the early morning or evening, it’s nice to at least give people a light snack if not a full continental breakfast or buffet of sorts; be sure to have food for those who are vegetarian
Handouts – your attendees will always appreciate good hands outs; need not be expensive but have something; a good design is important – don’t produce crappy hand outs
Agenda – have a great agenda – one that your audience wants; ensure you have good speakers who stay true to the agenda (your promise to attendees); speakers who just self promote themselves do a disservice to the audience and to you; make sure they leave clear points the audience can take away and learn from
Speakers – not everyone can speak as well as Seth Godin, John Lawson or Ty Kiisel; however ensure you have speakers who can clearly, passionately and engaging deliver their presentations – no reading
I could go on, but this is the CORE of a great event.
A few other things:
- Whether you have networking for attendees or not is up to you
- A follow up survey is nice to get feedback from your attendees.
- Name tags are often appreciated.
- Most event meeting spaces have good data projectors and screens. But a few have crappy systems. Make sure you check out the event space, before booking your first event their.
- Having a great production team is essential
- For a big event you want someone working with you to manage the details of the production of the event while you focus on other things
NOW FOR THE TOOLS YOU CAN USE FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT
HP MagCloud is an awesome service for printing your event program
Fedex Kinkos is great when time is short (like the night before) and you need to print name tags, addendum’s to a program or just about anything. Kinkos is also great at making signs for your event. We order our signs ahead of time and have them delivered or we pick them up from Kinkos. Works every time!
Eventbrite is one of the best tools for managing the registration of your attendees (including tickets, discount codes, event invitations and all sorts of things). Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Ticket Leap (and I’m sure others) have event management tools as well.
Twilio is a neat service to use for raffling off things by having attendees call in a number of being randomly selected through the system. Twilio does much more than that, but that’s how I used it at an event!
Google Docs (or some other collaboration tool like Office 365 or Zoho) their are all sorts of fancy services you can use for collaboration. But at the end of the day nothing beats a good spreadsheet for tracking your speakers information, marketing partnes and others.
Dropox is a must if you need to share lots of files (speaker head shots and other things) between your team members.
Kensington Presentation clicker – there are lots of presentation clickers on the market. I personally like one from Kensington. The buttons are big and easy to click and it fits nicely in your hand.