This past week, I went to two very well done events that I was impressed with. GeekWire had their launch party this past week at the SoDo Showbox - congratulations to the founders John and Todd. Founder Olivier Wevers of Whim W'Him had an awesome 40th birthday celebration in the beautiful courtyard of the Intiman Theatre. Brilliance. From the welcome, the attention to detail, the plethora of energy (for those like myself with ADD), and the super fun experiences I had at each of these events - reminded me of a training seminar I gave a few months back on "Event Marketing 101" to the event board for PWAP: Party with a Purpose. BTW - all of the above have Facebook pages, so "Like" them to find out about future events/shows. GeekWire | Whim W'Him | PWAP
I've been planning and organizing event experiences for about 15 years since my days in college where I'd bring the campus together under the flag of "Diversity" for various events: plays and musical events to most recently under the name of "Socially Conscious BarNights" where I'd host regular nights for young professionals in the area to get together for a socially conscious cause (United Way, Big Brothers and Sisters, Children's Hospital, Giving Real Options to Women, NW Parkinson's Foundation, Marriage Equality, SCIDpda...). I retired officially from that around 2008/9 - I still host events here and there, but no longer regularly (difficult to with my day and night jobs). It is something I still love doing events for fun and helping others with their events.
Planning an event/experience is broken down into 4 basic elements: Guest, Body, Ego, and the Heart. I'll explain what I mean by those 4 elements in just a sec. This framework should be used whether you're planning a party, a nonprofit fundraiser, a charity dinner, a house party, a professional networking event, or even a meeting at work. Unless these 4 elements are addressed - it's pretty difficult for a person to open their minds or hearts to whatever you are seeking from them (money, attention, relaxation, ...).
Guest is about making sure the event logistics are intuitive and taken care of: who's the host, greeting the guest, having a central hub to go to, location, and giving proper goodbye's/thank you's at the end to give closure to your guests. This is about making sure the administrative/logistics take care of your guest.
Body is about nourishment. Will you serve food - will people have access to it if not? Will you serve alcohol - do you have enough bartenders (**very key)? Will you require payment - cash or credit card? Will your guests be able to get cash if they don't have any? What about age requirements? Is there enough variety to account for different requirements (vegetarian, meat, ...)? Note: like weddings, people will only remember really bad or really awesome experiences.
Ego is making sure that this is an event/experience a person would want to go to. Are you having it at a venue people want to go to or be seen at? Is the location accessible or exclusive? Will you have photographers? Do whatever you can to help your guest feel special, wanted and welcome. Remember, flattery will get you everywhere.
Heart is where if the above three are taken care of, the heart opens up to hearing the message you are trying to send, the charity you are trying to raise money for, or the feelings you are hoping your guest will experience at your event. This is where the extra touches to help your guest feel good about being present or involved will happen - the "Yay!" --> hugs to welcome your guest, remembering something special about your guest as you introduce him/her to another guest, the thoughtful gestures/words that will go a zillion miles.
Feel free to contact me w event questions. Love to hear your thoughts. Happy to go into further detail if you're interested in learning more about the above. I do still plan events occasionally, serve on boards when I can around events, and even some consulting, too. :)