I wrote this piece three years ago when serving on the Communications Committee for the MPI Toronto Chapter. I never did submit it but when reading through it, found it contained some good advice that still holds true.
I spoke to several suppliers and planners when contemplating this topic and some commented that this was a ‘difficult topic’ so I approached it by asking these questions.
What can a planner do right to entice me to attend their event? What can a supplier do right? And what is the expectation of the attendee?
Here are some comments and suggestions received from the field:
For Event Planners:
-Do give attendees 4 to 6 weeks notice on event date and location
-Do provide for different methods of registration in order to meet the needs of all attendees (some still are not comfortable with on-line registration and payment)
-Do ask about the best way to communicate with that person – phone call or e-mail preferred
-Do provide an immediate confirmation of registration
–In the case of booth space, ensure that an on-line system does not allow for overbooking of booth types so that registrants get the type of booth registered for (some interviewees cited CSAE Ottawa’s 2010 Tete a Tete event where the on-line system allowed for overbooking of their most sought after booth space, therefore making confirmation of space booked, impossible, until they sorted out the over booking situation)
-Do remind attendees registered one or two days prior to the event and provide clear concise driving / public transportation directions
-Do provide sustenance (food and beverage) and scheduled breaks allowing for a more engaged audience
-Do follow up afterward for feedback and suggestions to improve future events
-Do show up on time – at least 10 minutes before the start of the event
-Do come prepared to work and concentrate only on this event for the day
-Do leave your blackberry, smart phone device at home, or ensure that it is turned off and put away before event starts (put your “out of office” e-mail on and leave your job for the day – those e-mails will be there tonight or even tomorrow and you can respond then)
-Do give speakers and trainers your un-divided attention and participate when asked to
-Do complete the post event survey – your opinion matters
-Elementary classroom rules still apply – don’t talk or chew gum in class
It is all about “listening” and “learning” and incorporating simple etiquette and ethics in our every day lives whether planning or attending events. Consideration and kindness go a long way and then remember that when received, you need to PAY IT FORWARD!