Putting together a successful event is hard work! Everything from logistics to speakers to event content must come together to make it a great experience. These were the thoughts running through my mind when I was helping organize a Product Management Festival(PMF) for product and marketing teams in technology companies. It was my first conference, and the pressure was on!
We were all about the attendee experience. We made sure that the logistics were on point, and networking opportunities and games were plenty, all to create the right atmosphere. What we failed to understand was people appreciate the fun but priority 1 is to learn. The aspects that play a role in attendee experience are the topics, speakers and what they can walk away with after the event.
Based on these learnings, here are three key areas to consider when planning an event.
Understanding the why of an event
This is the first and most crucial step in planning an event. If you don't understand why you are running the event, you won't be able to plan the event theme, identify the content and pick speakers. This helps your team set a shared vision for the event and collectively agree on the KPIs.
Pro Tip - Get feedback from both the core events team as well as other contributors to brainstorm ideas and KPIs for an event.
Event theme and content
When it comes to the event theme and content, always keep it simple. Nina Zakharenkoa, DevRel at Microsoft is a great example of this. She came across the idea for Memory Management in Python talk as she was learning about the topic. The concept was new at the time, and every resource she came across was complicated and assumed a lot of prerequisite knowledge on the reader's part. She felt the overall concept of how memory management in Python works could be simplified. And content could be created to cater to users with varying levels of experience.
Nina’s worked towards building content which was audience experience agnostic and gave a talk that was simple and informative that didn’t make any assumptions about what the audience knew. It was immensely successful.
Pro Tip - if you are struggling with identifying the theme of your event or what the content should be, a survey can help you gauge audience interest. And make sure you research if the content that is already available under that theme. Why? To avoid repetitive content and to give users a unique perspective.
Choosing your event evangelists
I like to refer to speakers as event evangelists because they go a long way in projecting your event brand. The entire tone of your event is set by the speakers you choose. The right speakers will play a large role in making sure how your registrations turn out - not just by numbers, but by the relevance of the registrants. When choosing your event evangelists make sure you check the speaker's previous work related to the topic, the kind of conversations they have on social media and any feedback for previous talks.
Pro tip - It’s always good to have at least 2-3 speakers as potential choices. If one is unavailable you can always try with the others.
How can Weavr help Weavr, a continuous intelligence and engagement platform can help you with all aspects of running a great event. It helps keep track of conversations, content and community that are relevant to your business. This way, you can quickly pick up on content with the most interest, follow the evangelists who are leading the conversations and engage with the community who wants to engage. Find out more at https://weavr.ai/