Christine Cullity, Director of Marketing at Convention Data Services, has 17 years of experience in strategic marketing and event management.
Go Beyond a PowerPoint Presentation to Create a Memorable Corporate Event
Every summer on beautiful Cape Cod our Convention Data Services (CDS) team organizes an advisory group event for our clients. Our annual event gathers people of different backgrounds from all over the country to network, share ideas and build relationships. With 11 years of experience planning and executing this meeting we’ve gained first-hand knowledge of what makes a corporate event successful. Here are a few tips and ideas for creating a memorable event:
Define your objective:
Kick off the planning of your event by determining your objectives. What are your goals for the event? Is there knowledge or information you want attendees to gain during the event? Every year our primary objective is to structure the advisory meeting around giving our clients and colleagues the opportunity to learn and network. Our goal is to produce a memorable event by creating an environment to help our group form partnerships with other attendees and our team, strengthen existing relationships and share their knowledge. When the meeting ends we want our attendees to walk away feeling informed, educated, excited and invigorated about the year ahead.
Rejuvenate your content:
Start by reviewing post-event surveys and gathering feedback on content from previous meetings. Are you offering relevant and original information each year? How does your audience want the content delivered? At CDS we use both post- and pre-event surveys for our meeting to capture what’s important to our audience. We also gather onsite feedback about the content to see how it is being shared throughout the event. A PowerPoint presentation isn’t the only way to present information so it’s important to consider alternative ways of delivering your content, such as workshops, campfire sessions and guest speakers. Turn your content into an experience to keep your audience engaged!
Use technology to maximize the impact of your meeting. We evaluated our audience and decided to go paperless for our most recent advisory event. This was done using second screen technology for session presentations and our event app to communicate general event information. Our advisory group took advantage of the enhanced communication features offered through the second screen technology, such as note-taking and live polling with real-time results, as well as live chatting with event organizers and other attendees. The migration to a paperless event was well received by attendees and increased overall engagement.
Change the scenery:
The meeting environment can set the tone for your entire event. Are you keeping attendees engaged by mixing up the scenery among events, sessions and networking activities? Because CDS is headquartered on Cape Cod, MA we like to bring in elements of our location to our advisory event. We choose venues located near the ocean and incorporate other Cape Cod aspects such as lobster bakes and boat charters to give attendees a unique and native experience. Consider incorporating the locale into your event by offering themed meals and activities or facilitate outdoor excursions.
Add an element of fun:
Give your attendees a lasting impression of your event by including unexpected elements of fun and excitement. Think about how you can make your event stand out from the crowd and what types of activities will set your meeting apart. This year we kicked off our event with a team-building exercise on the beach. Our attendees got to know each other and our CDS team better by working together to problem solve. We offered a welcome reception immediately following the activity and found that the beach activity was a great icebreaker. Everyone felt comfortable and shared photos and experiences from the exercise.
Creating a memorable event is all about the experience and creating connections. Finding different methods of teaching and connecting your attendees with the event is crucial to your success. Additionally, this guarantees that attendees absorb and practice the information given to them. When your attendees experience and become part of your event, you’ve created a memorable event that makes them want to come back year after year.