5 Simple Ways To Make Your Event Better

In The Beginning…
Your event is a story. Depending on how things go, it can be horror story with your clients running and screaming into the night never to be seen or heard from again. Or a drama with staff and servers freaking out and customers crying and shoving in the parking lot. Or your event can be a grand and inspiring adventure that people talk about for months.

Every great story needs a great beginning, preferably one that starts when it’s supposed to. If your event advertised a start time and 30–60 minutes after that time, people are still waiting for things to get going, you’ve communicated that you’re either incompetent or inconsiderate. I’ve never heard a customer complain because the event started when it was supposed to. Start. On. Time.

Personality Disorder
I attended an event recently. As soon as I stepped out of the car I was immersed in a cool, classy vibe. Elegant glassware, rich table clothes with lots of plants and greenery…it was a great first impression. Except for the live three-piece band slogging through a set of blues cover tunes. Not only didn’t they fit with ‘cool and classy’, they actually dorked up the entire vibe. A great event has one personality. Everything fits together. Everything flows in the same direction and builds momentum.

If you are going to hire a live performer or group, they should be a featured part of the presentation. If you want background music, put together a killer playlist or hire a DJ. It’s a lot easier to adjust the volume and the vibe to fit the size and demographic of the audience if it changes throughout the night. Your event is a story; know the story you’re telling.

Multi Tasking
An exceptional event that really nails its personality, will be able to do more than one thing at the same time. It will entertain and engage your audience. It will educate them on your product. It will empower them by providing ways to become involved in your story and will do this without losing the vibe. Expect more and settle for less when it comes to designing your events and hiring your producers and performers.

Pay Attention
The devil is in the details. There is always an element that each of us naturally pays attention to. For one person it’s the decorations, for another it’s the lighting, for someone else it’s the entertainment. For me personally, I can’t tune out music. So if someone is playing music that doesn’t fit, I can’t ignore it…it’s the nails on the chalkboard. So pay attention to all of the details not just the ones that are important to you. Cause all of the elements will either compliment or clash. There’s no middle ground.

Obviously there are times we have to produce an event on a limited or even shoestring budget. When you’re in that situation make sure you remain focused on what’s important and don’t get distracted by everything that seems urgent. A couple of years ago I was hired as a video producer for an event with a six-figure budget. It was a train wreck of an event. The organization thought they could pocket the money they’d budgeted for an event producer and do it themselves. But everyone already had a full-time job. So no one had the time to put into actually planning and producing the event. So in the end nothing flowed or fit, and even the things they’d done well ended up feeling disjointed. Trying to save money by cutting corners can really bite you in the ass. Hire enough people. Hire the right people.

Some Free Advice
Approach your event the way an author approaches the cover of their book. Everyone judges a book by the cover and your event is the cover or your organization or brand. I spent most of a year writing my book and when the publisher put a mock cover together, it was absolute rubbish. And I freaked out. Cause I knew that a bad cover could keep people from even picking it up. Suddenly something I hadn’t really thought about became the most important thing I needed to think about. That’s how you need to feel about your events. It may be the first face-to-face experience your clients have with your company. Make it count.

5 simple things that will make your event better…start on time, nail the personality/vibe you’re going for. Expect more; settle for less, just pay attention to the details and hire the right people. It’s like a producer told me on my first film project, “a great story can compensate for a lack of budget, but no amount of budget can compensate for a lack of a story.” Make sure you’re event is a great story, and people will love it.

Rik Leaf is a WSET III Sommelier, member of the BC Guild of Wine Judges, Music/Media producer, TV host & published author. Contact: 250–896–2572 events@entertainingworldofwine.com

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