Elements of a Successful Event

Whether it’s in-person, virtual, or hybrid, all successful events have a few things in common.

It’s true that there is no one size fits all approach. The reasons and ways people come together are as widespread and varying as the formats and tools they use to meet!

When beginning the event planning process, it’s important to consider what your primary goals are. The purpose of the event, prioritization of messaging, and how you’ll measure the success of your event are among the most important goals to consider.

Pro Tip: Possibly the most important aspect to consider is what your audience wants most out of their live event experience. While the exact response may vary from audience to audience, we’ve found that most attendees are looking to be entertained, have the rockstar experience, gain access to people and thought leaders, and attend an event that is a valuable use of their time.

With so many different variables when it comes to an event, it may seem like there is no rule book or guide to what makes an event successful … but that is not the case! Just as all successful events engage their target audience, effectively share messaging, and have a lasting impact, there are several elements that all successful live events have in common (and several pitfalls they avoid).

Keep reading to learn more about what elements can make your event a success and how to avoid common mistakes!

Elements all Successful Events Have in Common

Never underestimate the power of promotion! Building anticipation before, during, and even after the event generates long lasting energy, excitement, and awareness. Pre-event communications put attendees in the right frame of mind before they even arrive onsite, while post-event follow ups cement important messaging and remind audiences of how much fun they had.

Event Structure
Having a clearly defined event structure and schedule reduces event anxiety for attendees, allowing them to focus on what matters most – the event itself! There is a clear, palpable difference between a well-organized event where attendees, presenters, and show crews have well-defined expectations, and one that is haphazardly put together.

Pro-tip: don’t allow structure to eliminate flexibility. Be sure to include plenty of breaks and opportunities for audience members to get away or network.

Throwing more money at an event doesn’t guarantee it’s success – but pinching pennies and not investing enough leads to difficult situations that can impact the audience experience. It’s important to budget appropriately, determine what elements are most important to you, and scale back in areas that are least likely to affect the audience experience, if necessary.

Be Unique
This may seem counterintuitive in a blog dedicated to what successful events have in common – but it deserves to be mentioned! Including unusual activities, cutting edge technology, and extraordinary presenters keeps attendees on their toes and excited to see what comes next.

Planning and Feedback
The first part of this should go without saying! Planning ahead and defining the desired event outcome is the first step in setting you up for success. This ensures that not only the entire planning team, but any external production partners, are on the same page and aligned behind the same goals. After the event, take time to think critically about the event – what went well and what you may want to change in the future. At this stage, it’s also important to gather audience feedback, ensuring that your next event is even more impactful and successful.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Unrealistic Expectations
Setting realistic and attainable expectations for your event sets up you, your production partners, and your attendees for success. This means creating a reasonable planning timeline, setting attainable expectations for your event attendees (nobody can sit in an 8-hour session without a break!), and understanding what is possible within your budget. Having reasonable expectations will allow you to make the most impactful event with any limitations you may have.

Lack of Preparation
Creating thoughtful content takes practice and preparation. Whether that be well rehearsed and thoughtful presentations, clean, consistent branding, or engaging video content, giving yourself and your event partners time to prepare will result in a more polished, entertaining event overall.

Poor Venue Planning
Your venue needs to work for your event – not the other way around. Make sure you pick an event venue that has enough space for your attendees to comfortably enjoy the event, participate in activities, and fully engage with presentations. No matter how beautiful your content is, it won’t matter if half your audience can’t see screens, hear presenters, or even fit into the auditorium!

While the way we define a successful event may vary, we all know what one looks like while we see it! Ensure your audience has an engaging, impactful, and informative experience by focusing on these key elements and avoiding the common pitfalls.

At Encompass, we have unique backgrounds that situate us perfectly to produce high end and complex offerings. We’ve worked in broadcast television, touring entertainment, live sporting events, and countless convention facilities across the country.

We have technical design experience and a disciplined process in place that allows us to easily scale events and shift from in-person to virtual without angst. There isn’t much that’s beyond our scope and we love the intensity of putting on events!

If you’re a planner working to create an event, seeking help with virtual event technology, or simply want to learn more … we can help! Sign up for our newsletter (we promise to keep your contact information secure and won’t “overshare”).

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