The importance of setting expectations
An important part of the event planner’s role is to deliver an event to the audience’s expectations, so it’s vitally important to make sure you understand what the audience expects. It seems obvious, right?
But sometimes, in the stressful environment of event planning, with the focus on getting the job done, certain key components can be missed.
From the moment guests receive an invite, to the moment they leave the venue, they need to know that they achieved their aims & objectives for attending the event.
Setting Expectations Right
According to the chosen venue, the time set for the event, and the schedule, guests will have a personal interpretation of what to expect – networking, a beneficial workshop, or maybe just a great meal. It’s your job, as an event planner, to set the right expectations for your guests and ensure their expectations are matched.
The last thing you want as an event planner is to have disappointed guests whose expectations where based on the wrong idea. It all starts with a clearly thought out marketing strategy for the event, and a clear timetable.
Each Event Should Start at Square One
The first step in getting a better picture of what your intended audience will expect from an event, is by getting the message right.
For example, if the event is centred upon a new website launch, the main goal is to present the new website, its features and benefits, and show guests how to use the platform so they understand what it will do for them. At the end of the event, you may want to encourage guests to utilise the new website in their own time and offer a prize draw for guests who provide feedback that helps with on-going improvements centred on the customer.
Understanding your message from the beginning and placing yourself in the position of the audience will help you best define the goals that will assist in navigating communications issues and deliver an event meeting the expectations of your audience.
Guests who register for the event are most likely interested in the company and in new developments. Therefore, networking time should always be built in to allow your guests to discuss content, share ideas and meet people with similar interests. A guest that makes strong connections at your events can often turn into an advocate providing you with long-term benefit.
Creating a Realistic Timetable
You must remember that your guests are making time within their schedule to attend, so you need to make your timetable fit their expectations. A 15-minute session for networking at an all-day event would not be considered adequate time for effective networking and would most likely not meet the expectations of any of your guests.
Set enough time before the event make sure to schedule enough time for each course, ensuring guests feel at ease and have enough time to unwind from the event before the venue begins clearing up.
Don’t forget – Adding another 10 minutes to your schedule is better than trying to squeeze everything in.
Spread The Word
Once you have your events goal straight, your timetable set up, it’s time to let everyone know about your event.
1. Present the highlights of your event – the networking times, the focus & objectives of the event, speakers, and even names of key industry guests that will be attending.
2. Give out all the details on the venue and style to let people know what to expect once they arrive and how to prepare.
3. Notify your guests about how to register, and until what date they can. Sending out statements like “Hurry, Get your tickets, Time is running out”, will not do the job, but getting guests excited about your event will.
4. Use all social media platforms to spread the word – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram are all effective channels for spreading the word, and – if you have the time – create a special landing page for the event where your audience can access all the key event information.
Building and sharing a clear plan gives you a solid base for a successful event. With a proper plan, you will know what your goals are, what you want to achieve from the event, and – most importantly – your guests will know what to expect.
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