To outsiders, event planning can appear as if you’re partying all the time and have access to unlimited shrimp cocktail. The truth is it is a lot of hard work. The planning and coordination is extensive and the on-site work is rigorous.
For example, consider how many times your boss or client comes to you and wants new ideas. They are asking for something more, something bigger and better than your previous events. Unfortunately, you have the same budget to work with and you can’t afford Beyonce. The key here is to not get caught in the trap that something bigger is always better. Stop thinking “big” and just think “different”.
Hit up the latest viral videos, research You Tube or watch Americas Got Talent to find the WOW performance factor you need. There are a lot of extremely talented artists out there that are within your budget. I found Dan Dunn via a YouTube search. He was a huge hit and my client wound up using him for multiple events. Dan is an improvisational Speed Painter and the creator of Paintjam, a theatrical performance art show in which paintings are created in minutes on stage. The best part is that he was completely able to customize his performance to support the theme of the meeting and his fees were reasonable. The paintings can be auctioned off for charity or provided as a take-away for award recipients.
For another event, we opened general session with illuminate dancers; an idea that came from a viral video that was going around from an episode of America’s Got Talent. This was an energizing and affordable way to excite the audience and kick off a 3 day meeting. Stomp, or Industrial Rhythm, are more examples of exciting and energetic meeting openers.
Think differently about where you apply your budget dollars. Interjecting WOW elements throughout is what will make the event memorable. Mixing up technology on a smaller scale throughout an event can be another way to make it feel different. Change up how you are delivering content. Have you always provided break-out sessions that are all classroom style seating with a projector and death by PowerPoint? Have you thought about offering up more collaborative style workshops? Think about incorporating improv-based learning, digital content, and entertainment. Elevate the messages so people want to listen and engage your audience in different ways.
Look for my next event post on key insights into evoking emotions and budgeting creative.