5 little ways to improve events

This blog is dedicated and inspired by Adrian Webster of “Polar Bear Pirates” fame. Adrian presented at Association Congress in London on the 11th December. Like most great speakers I felt he was saying things specifically designed for my ears. But of course that’s not true. The best speakers just make you think the particular when they deliver the general. Adrian’s session was ostensibly about how to manage and enthuse teams. But all I heard was “events!” I tend to think about events just a little bit too much.

Adrian explained his very engaging idea of TNTs covered in depth in his book (Polar Bear Pirates) These are the little things that cost nothing but mean a great deal. As a few of his examples came from the leisure industry I thought I would build on his session and list 5 quick TNTs that can make for an explosively engaging business event. So here are my 5 little ways to improve events:

1. Introduce sponsors to key contacts

I love the idea of the organiser speaking to each of the sponsors and asking who they most want to meet during the show and them making it their job to ensure that they can press the flesh. This adds a lot of value and really does cost nothing.

2. Have a very personal welcome

Adrian spoke about the receptionist at Gleneagles knowing that it was his “first visit to the hotel” what a wonderful TNT to have every attendee welcomed with a personal message from a smiling member of staff. How easy would this be to do at your next conference? Answer, very, very easy.

3.  Tell people that you have listened to their feedback

I’ve found that the majority of attendees are very happy when giving feedback to include their name. So how about emailing them saying you’ve taken their views on board and made changes to the event. List the changes you’ve made. Just see the little explosion erupt when they know that you have really truly listened to them.

4. Call every attendee after the event

This is all in the name of great market research but why not power it with a bit of TNT. How many events do you think call their attendees to genuinely find out what they thought about the event? This isn’t the start of the sales process but a genuine way to tell that attendee that they mean more than a number on the function sheet.

5. Say thanks and provide feedback to speakers

I am embarrassed for my profession to add this but a simple thanks and a note on how well a speakers session went down isn’t a prerequisite for some organises. Shameful as it is. Talk about not making you feel welcome or valued?

I decided to write this short post whole waiting for my flight back to Barcelona. I thought I would give an example from an attendee, speaker and exhibitors perspective to demonstrate that these TNTs can work for every part of the chain in your event. I also wanted to cement in my mind what a great idea Adrian’s little TNTs are and the value that this simple consideration can have in business events. If we all really think about the principle behind the TNT we can improve our events.

The events which take this TNT approach won’t be asking asking “Who Stole My Audience?” Adrian quoted one of his heroes Zig Ziglar: “there are no traffic jams on the extra mile” and how true is that. There is so much room for events on that highway.

And of course I wanted to say a personal thanks to Adrian. His session was really useful. I appreciated it.