After nearly 30 years leading the event development and execution at the Society for Human Resource Management, I took the leap earlier this year to join the remarkable VCC team and focus on helping associations and organizations improve their annual events.
The work we do has reignited my deep appreciation for the role associations play in society and the importance people attribute to their affiliation with a profession or business vertical. I have learned more about the importance of clarifying event purpose and business models and how leading organizations (both small and large) are embracing the hard work that’s required to innovate and refresh long-established patterns and practices.
Although I normally eschew year-end reviews, top ten and in/out lists, I am moved to share a few observations based on the numerous events and clients we’ve worked with in 2019.
- Change is inevitable but it’s easier when you, as the owner of your event, lead the event change management effort in your association.
- Every meeting, conference, expo or convention can be refreshed, enhanced or innovated. The best time to look at your event culture, purpose, business model and flow is when it is healthy. Don’t wait for the inevitable slide that happens when things get stale.
- Tweaking your program and adding features is not the same thing as doing a deep-dive into strategy and how that translates to leading change and driving better results.
- Leadership support or buy-in is critical to the success of any change effort. Failure is almost assured if there is no support from the top.
- The attendee’s onsite experience needs more attention from planners and leaders and features should be adjusted throughout an event to ensure greater ROI from the beginning to the end.
- How you start and finish an event means much because that’s what your attendees recall the most.
- Technology should play a supporting role in your event strategy. It shouldn’t be the lead and there is no quick fix or single solution – no matter what vendors might tell you.
- Budget is important but even the leanest organizations can effect change in their events.
- What matters to the attendee should matter most to event organizers.
- Content is king and should be engaging, current and delivered to the highest standard.
I am excited about the work we’ll do together in 2020.
Which of the above tenets to you agree with? Which is the hardest to sell to your leadership?