Event planning can be a stressful task for many associations, but it doesn’t have to be. With over 25 annual conferences and events under our belt, Van Petten Group has compiled five tips to help your organization plan an engaging event.
Step 1: Choose an ideal venue
Each association has its own qualities, which define the organization. Our job as an association management company is to find what suits you best. Choosing the right venue can be a challenging task – especially if you have a limited budget. However, we will always choose a unique venue that is easily accessible, ADA compliant, and has ample space for the event you’d like to host. Sometimes an oversized venue for an intimate crowd will look as if you had trouble filling the event, but a cramped space is not a good fit either. VPG always strives to find what’s best for YOUR organization.
Step 2: Choose an agenda that is engaging and adequate
Choosing an appropriate agenda is key to a successful event that engages the audience. Remember this pro tip: the agenda is a representation of your event. Remember to structure the event content into sessions and add breaks in order to group these sessions. Be diverse in the content of your sessions. Innovative ideas and solutions come from exposure to a rich expanse of perspectives. Work with your team to come up with ways to diversify your event and make it interesting for everyone attending.
Step 3: Give plenty of networking opportunities
The beauty found in larger events is the opportunity for attendees to enhance their professional skill set while coming together with people in your industry in an organic way. Many seek a relaxed environment to connect with other attendees, so remember to allow sufficient time for networking. Professionals often come to events because virtual networking can lack the spark of real life connection. Remember to create a welcoming environment for all walks of life. No one wants to feel left behind at an event. Promote inclusion by fostering a sense of belonging. Pro tip: have a few individuals dedicated to breaking the ice with introductions to allow your attendees to strengthen their network with ease.
Step 4: The content of the event MATTERS
Event content is critical to its success. All presentations and handouts should reflect your companies values and present the topic of the event. Review your speaker(s) message to ensure its both engaging and relevant. And make sure to feature speakers with diverse backgrounds and experiences in order to make the event memorable. Pro tip: provide your guests with useful takeaways that they can incorporate into their day-to-day lives.
Step 5: Questions anyone?
Make time to allow for questions at the end of your event. People who have doubts can then easily air their thoughts in an organized way. Plan structured time for people to mingle with other attendees while allowing them to ask questions so everyone feels complete after a speaker has spoken or after your event has ended.
Event planning takes a good deal of thought, preparation, and follow-through. Let Van Petten Group take the wheel and provide you with an amazing event for your association.
Megan Van Petten
Van Petten Group, Inc.