The Power of an Event Strategy (Part 3 of 3)

Five (5) ways to leverage your Event Strategy:

  • Speak/Present at an event
  • Create an event
  • Sponsor an event
  • Host/Collaborate on an existing event
  • Network at the best events for you!
Choosing to include an event strategy in your marketing & business planning is critical. An event (for the purposes of this paper) is defined as a goal-oriented gathering of specifically selected people, so it can be a business development coffee meet-up, a networking happy hour, a focus group, a product launch, a client appreciation party, a business meeting, etc. It can get you connected, increase your visibility and enhance your ideal client relationships!
Q & A:
Q1. Why create/join/sponsor/attend an event?
A1. A well-planned event can boost your ability to connect with people. It’s great to connect one-on-one, but it’s more powerful to share knowledge and expertise with many people at the same time. Do you want to host, speak at or sponsor the event? What are your goals and how can you reach them with an event?
Q2. Who is in the room? Who is the event audience?
A2. It’s all about being in the right room and making thoughtful, strategic connections. You’ll want to know if your ideal target clients are likely to be attending and interested in this event? What can you learn about the attendees before the event, if you’re the speaker, sponsor or co-host? Sometimes I’ve recommended that a client consider sponsoring the perfect event, even if they haven’t had sponsors previously.
Q3. When and where to schedule an event?
A3. My primary question for this topic is, “How do you want your attendees to feel at this event?” This question sets the tone for selecting an ideal venue environment and contributes to scheduling considerations, as well.
Timeline is one of the 3 key components of event management (budget & goals are the other two).
  • What day of the week is best?
  • What time of day?
  • Length of program/event
  • Travel and accommodations
  • Pre-event promotion timeline
  • Logistical event needs
  • Event ticket price, event budget
  • Number of expected attendees
  • Holidays, city or area events

Q4.How do I make a great event happen?
A4. Here are some of the key ideas in crafting a successful event strategy:

  • Communicate & collaborate with clear vision & goals
  • Invite and inspire a team to support you in your goals/event (including ideal sponsors, vendors, friends, experts)
  • What’s the ideal take-away? (promo items or community creation around purpose)
  • Creating communities before/during/post meeting to measure interest & involvement – have an emcee (MC)
  • Create and implement a comprehensive promotions, event & social media strategy
  • Consider hiring an event planner or event strategist. :)

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7+ Networking Exit Strategies… How do I gracefully get away?

It’s wonderful to go networking. We have an opportunity to meet lots of people, share our business and learn from others. There are non-ideal circumstances as well: being uncertain of our message, not meeting the ‘right’ people and being stuck with a “long talker” whoBusiness Networking doesn’t seem to breathe. I recently received a question about “how to properly disengage from a conversation during networking”.

We’ve all been in conversations that go on a bit (or a lot) longer than expected. And we find ourselves listening to someone who is so passionate about what they do that they’ve forgotten to listen to what we might want to share. Sometimes, we must get away to complete a task or meet/greet others at the event. They may be a great connection and you always want to be personable, but you need to depart from the conversation.

It’s important to be genuine and honest with your departure. You might need to gently interrupt, with an “excuse me” or say their name to get their attention. If you’ve really enjoyed the conversation, tell the other person. If you can’t use their product or service, you might be able to connect them with someone who can. That’s always a great comment to offer.

For example, you might be in a host or ambassador role at the event. In this specific circumstance, you might explain that you are ‘on-duty’ as a volunteer. (This gives you a chance to mention your organization/role and perhaps someone else will want to join you.) You could mention that “as an ambassador or event ‘host’, you’ve been asked to greet new guests and welcome current members to the event”. In addition, you could share that it’s a great way to build visibility for your business.

Here are some specific “exit strategy” suggestions:

  1. “Thanks for the information about your company/business. I’d like to learn more. Let’s connect after the event.”
  2. “What an interesting discussion we’re having! I’d like to meet/greet a few more colleagues today. I’m at table #3, if you’d like to join me there?”
  3. “As an host/ambassador for the event today, I’ve been asked to greet new guests, would you excuse me?”
  4. You could invite your new connections to join you and meet others:  “Let’s both go and meet new people. Then we can share each other’s businesses with them.”
  5. “Thanks for the information about your company/business. I don’t know if it’s a good fit for me, but I might be able to connect you with someone else.”
  6. As a volunteer, you can always offer the comment, “I’d like to check in with our member/volunteer table to see if they need any help. Please excuse me.”
  7. “This conversation has been informative/interesting. I know we’re both here to meet new people, is there someone that I might be able to introduce you to at this event?”

And a most important comment, focusing on post-event follow-up strategy:

BONUS

  • “I’ve enjoyed our conversation and would like to continue it. I’d like to meet a few additional guests today. Let’s exchange business cards, connect on LinkedIn and continue our conversation after the event?”

Great networking means significant connections. Meeting and talking at an event is a great start. Following up via social media networks and continuing your conversations via phone, e-mail and in person is critical to building excellent reciprocal relationships in business and close more sales.

What’s your favorite exit strategy? Please share!!

 

January Jig: Event Strategy #1

Have you ever attended an event and thought, “How did they do that?”, “Love that presenter!” or “I want to be part of a great event.” I’ll share a great post at 3pm that develops these comments and gets to the heart of “Why do I want to host-speak-sponsor-participate in an event?”

Events give you (and your cause) visibility! Networking boosts your connections at events as host, attendee, sponsor or speaker. Consider these keys:

  • Have a project management approach to your event: focus on goals, budget & timeline.
  • How do you want your attendees to feel while at your event?
  • A strategic & well-planned event can boost your ability to connect with people.
  • You can share your knowledge and establish you as an expert in your field.
  • Events give visibility to a cause or passion that you want other people to support.
  • Successfully promoted/managed events use a strategic combination of social media platforms and timing.
  • Consider which are the best events at which to host, speak, sponsor or network to increase your visibility.

Thanks to Idea Girl Media for a fabulous January Jig Event!!

Next Strategic Connections event (in Cincinnati): http://conta.cc/StrategicConnectionsEvent-Jan26

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