Three tips for the event season

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At the end of a summer that never really got started, many firms are now preparing for the autumn promotional season that runs up to Christmas.  These are the events such as seminars, workshops and other occasions designed to demonstrate expertise and make personal connections that can deliver important contacts and business.

From experience, there are some things to get right that can be neglected.  They aren’t complicated but have made the difference between success and underachievement.

Roles as well as rolls.  Sad to say but sometimes more thought goes into the choice of catering than how best to get properly organised and plan to make the most of an event.  In any seminar, there are specific roles that must be fulfilled in order to deliver an efficient outcome.

One role is “Meeters and Greeters” – folk whose specific task is to ensure that people are well informed and get to where they need to be.  Why are they important?  Well without their guidance, for example, guests can all congregate in one room (no doubt networking avidly amongst themselves) whilst host representatives remain in another one (talking to each other).  Oh dear.

Rehearsal missing.  Having spent long hours crafting their Powerpoint extravaganza, presenting professionals then check out of any further preparations until the moment an event begins (“I’m very busy” etc.).  After delivery, they then wonder why the feedback is poor and audience members were seen nodding off or heading for the exit.

These professionals do serious damage to the brand image of a firm.  No presentation should be aired in public without at least one (and preferably a second) rehearsal in front of agnostic observers, who are empowered to give a frank view from the likely audience’s perspective.

Speaker liaison.  If you invite a third party to present at an event, do you assume that (s)he is not your responsibility and that whoever performs will of course be relevant and riveting?  Leaving guest speakers entirely to their own devices can be a big risk.  And it is your reputation that suffers if things do not go well.

Treat any external speaker with the same rigour as you should your own. At the very least, obtain their content well in advance and provide polite but candid feedback. Ideally, get them to run through what they intend to present. This will avoid any duplication and result in positive influence for what the audience receives.

James Newberry runs People Scope, a consultancy, interim, training and coaching firm working with lawyers, accountants and other specialists to help them operate successfully outside of their comfort zones. http://www.peoplescope.com.

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