Every event meeting services organizer, at one point or another in their career, has woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night worrying endlessly about the details of an upcoming meeting. Will I be the only one there? Will people be bored out of their mind and leave? Will anyone network?
Rest assured that mistakes and failures do happen, but there are many ways to put a plan together to offset or minimize those fears. Here is my fear list and what fixes can put in place to overcome them.
FEAR: No one will show up.
The key to getting people to your event is to make sure you are targeting the right attendee and then invite them, invite them, and invite them again. Having an excellent RSVP process will make your life easy, but the key will be in your follow-up. Remember, the rule of thumb is: 25% of invited guests will say yes, 25% will say no, and it is the 50% left that you need to gain a commitment from one way or another.
FIX: Develop a great list and promote the meeting shamelessly.
First, develop a good attendee list and make certain you have all their information, including:
- Email address
- Snail mail address
- Phone Number
Here are some other great ways to get the word out:
- Create fliers and post them around your company
- Put the event details on your website
- Blog often about it and encourage guest bloggers to do so also
- Use social media outlets including:
- Facebook and the Facebook Events
- LinkedIn and LinkedIn Events
- Twitter and create a #hashtag for the event
- Event Marketing Sites like Eventbrite
- Create an email marketing campaign and run it at least 3 times
- Two weeks before the event, place telephone calls to the attendees who have not RSVPed.
FEAR: There will be a lot of walk-ins.
The RSVP process can be very tricky when people say things like "I’ll try to be there" or "Maybe". It can be very frustrating to the event meeting services company because they are trying to make certain the room is the right size, seating isn’t an issue, and there is enough food and beverage available for everyone.
FIX: Know the averages.
On average, 10% of your reserved guests will "no show" and most meetings have a 10% walk-in ratio. So things should even out, right? Yes, but always have in the contract that the caterer will be prepared to serve 5% more food than ordered. Make certain you have the Banquet Captain on speed dial in case you need to add more seating at the last minute.
FEAR: People won’t network.
Event organizers are always worried that their conference may seem uninviting to a new attendee. Sometimes people from the same company or organization spend all their time together, almost like moving as one big amoeba at the meeting. Networking is vital to the success of any event and name tags and business cards often just don’t cut it.
FIX: Make networking interesting and fun.
Create icebreakers, play games, assign people to tables, switch out name tags, and offer attendees incentives to learn more about others are just one of many ways to create a buzz at the networking event. Rent iPads with an extreme networking application.
On Friday, January 13th, check out Part 2 to learn more about event planner fears.
To help squash all your meeting fears, partner with AV Event Solutions, a California technology rental company. They have all the interactive tools you need for a successful, fearless event.