I headed over to a small business event yesterday. I was taught early on to write down three takeaways before attending any event. Here's what I came up with:
- I run a monthly meeting, and I'm always curious on how I can make it better. This means I need to check out other events and see how they are run / managed / promoted. (Takeaway: Find three things that might make my meetings better.)
- Small businesses appeal to me. [pitch] I mean, I work with small businesses in an effort to increase visibility, build communities, and improve productivity. [/pitch] It's always interesting to network with others to see what these folks are focusing on. (Takeaway: Meet five people who might be influencers.)
- I like this area. The Intrepid Museum is nearby and it's fun to gaze over the Hudson. You know, unscheduled airplane landings and random dolphin sightings. (Takeaway: Discover two places - coffee shops, open spaces, etc. - to work remotely from.)
Here's what I learned.
The event was organized / scheduled through EventBrite. It makes the event more official and professional. EventBrite also creates calendar invites and provides notifications pre-event. Great for registrants and attendees.
Lesson I Learned: Use an event planning solution to make it simple to register and attend.
The odd thing is that between reserving my spot and the reminder notification, I don't think I heard from the event organizers. It might have been picked up as spam or maybe they did send something and I totally missed it.
Lesson I Learned: Send updates ahead of the event outlining new items or "don't forgets". Maybe highlight a sponsor or create a pre-event interview. Content should be easy to put together. Ensuring folks are updated helps keep the event front-of-mind and will help increase the attendance.
When I arrived, I felt a little lost. There was a registration table, but that was simply to usher me upstairs to another room. When I got upstairs, I had no idea who was running the event. I had no idea what to do next (Do I scan in my ticket? Do I get a name badge? What's the deal with the bar?)
Lesson I Learned: Make sure to greet everyone that comes in and give them a quick overview of the event and next steps.
I registered on EventBrite. I printed my ticket. I downloaded the EventBrite app for the phone. (Yes, I didn't have to do both but there are good reasons I did.) Then, when I arrived, my hand was stamped. Granted, I have a robust distaste for ink on my hands so maybe this is just me, but stamps don't belong at a business event.
Lesson I Learned: Don't cattle-prod your guests.
I'm all up for the thumping music and mood-setting lights. Really, I am. (As proof, I *just* attended a Roger Waters concert. See?) But these don't belong at a business event. (Unless the event is for mood lighting, thumping music, etc.)
There is a museum here in New York, the American Museum of Natural History. It's a great place to visit in a great little park. During the day, it's focus on learning and education is obvious. Terrific. Very museum-like.
Now and then, on a Saturday night, the downstairs is turned into something more suitable to a club - pounding music, drinks, the whole thing. It's an amazing experience. We were there watching / listening to Q-Tip do his thing awhile back. Since we had been there when it was a museum, we figured they'd shove everything into a closet and make room for the attendees.
Nope. There we were, bobbing our heads while standing next to a space exploration model.
Lesson I Learned: Make the environment appeal to the attendees. Not the other way around.
THE NEXT DAY
I received a follow-up email about the event this morning, showing off some pictures and keeping people informed of the next event.
Lesson I Learned: Get a follow up communication out the next day. Keep the buzz and excitement going.
Our next meeting is Friday, July 27th. I'll make it better by using what I learned at yesterday's event.
Time to get caught up on all things Liverpool.