Five Ways to Make People Talk About Your Event
How To Get Wallflowers to Engage at Networking Events
After all the time, money, and energy you’ve put into planning a corporate hospitality event, the big pay off comes when your guests tell their friends, family, coworkers and clients about the incredible experience they had at your event. Everyone who attended is excited to have been there (everyone who didn’t is just slightly jealous). Your name and brand are the talk of this conference, and your party is the “must do” event at the next one.
So how do you achieve this powerful star status? What are the secret components to making your event an unforgettable experience that your guests are talking about at breakfast the next day and continue talking about for the rest of the year?
What Will They Remember After Your Hospitality Event?
Once you’ve got people to attend your event, how do you get them to engage each other and connect?
The socialites and “master networkers” will canvass the room, and other people require a cocktail (or two) to “loosen up.”
However, there’s always a group of people on the edges, who are never quite sure who to talk to or what to say. Some people call them wallflowers, and I’ve read dozens of blogs and social media posts from event planners looking for ways to help these people feel comfortable enough to connect and network.
As a reformed wallflower myself, I can tell you that I always needed a reason to approach a stranger at a social event. I don’t think that makes me weird - most people don’t enjoy making a “cold approach” to a stranger.
Decorations and food can start conversations. Unfortunately, “Wow, this is really crazy lighting… everything is blue in here” and “This lamb shank is delicious…” can easily be responded to with conversation-crushing responses like “yeah” and “uh huh.” Awkward silence follows for everyone.
Six Critical Components to an Unforgettable Event
Every great event planner focuses on two critical questions when they create an experience for their guests: what are they going to see and feel while they’re at the event, and what are they going to remember after the event concludes. Keeping this audience-first perspective helps to keep the entire planning process on track and ensures a successful outcome. As Wendy Roberts famously wrote in the liner notes to Switched On Bach: “Any parameter you can control, you must control.”
The Heath Brothers excellent book “Making Your Ideas Stick” is a fantastic guide to the second question, “what are they going to remember after the event.” Let’s break down their six components to a “sticky” (or memorable) idea:
How to Host a "Free" Hospitality Event
One way or another, every event planner and every event client wants to be remembered. A corporate client wants the company name, company representative, and brand message clearly imprinted on the mind of each guest. A charity benefit organizer wants people to remember her event so donors plan to return the next year and donate again. A socialite wants her event remembered and talked about, so she knows her guests will be sure to attend her next event.
But what makes an event memorable?
In their wonderful book Made to Stick, The Heath Brothers outline six things that make ideas memorable. Including some or all of these components in your event will ensure your event stands out in the minds of your guests forever.
Since hospitality events are such powerful tools for connecting with your clients and engaging new prospects, it’s amazing how few companies host them. Bringing hundreds (or even thousands) of potential prospects to an event, feeding them, offering them drinks, and entertaining them them takes a lot of money, but the potential return on investment is incredible.
One of the biggest trends in trade show marketing provides exhibitors with a tremendous opportunity to get someone else to pay for the most expensive parts of hospitality marketing, while driving huge crowds of potential prospects to your trade show booth.
What if there was even a way to get someone else to take care of most complicated task - advertising the event and getting people to show up?