Whether you’re planning a conference, convention, seminar, or leadership training, you should take at least one step back – all the way to the big «why».
Same procedure as last year, miss Sophie? – The same procedure as every year, James.
The quote is from the 1960s comedy sketch «Dinner for One», but in many cases it is just as fitting for professional events, says Susann Faugli and Peter Vedenvik in X Meeting Point.
Too fitting, the two sales managers conclude.
«We facilitate everything from 15.000 square meter conventions to leadership trainings for 20 people,» begins Peter.
«No matter if it’s a large conference starring Barack Obama or a small seminar, there is a reason for arranging it. There is a goal behind it. That’s where we must begin. Nevertheless, sometimes we spend as much energy discussing whether there should be olives in the salad.»
Start from scratch
In other words, it’s easy to fall into old habits. Easy to program your conference using the same template as always or arrange this year’s kick-off from last kickoff’s blueprint. Negligent of how your participants, habits or sales funnel have changed.
This is where X Meeting Point works differently. And why Susann and Peter call themselves solution designers even though their business cards still say «sales manager».
«We always start with the real core: Why do you spend those money, and what do you want to achieve by doing so? In this way, we can guide you to the event that really adds value – and gives the delegates a great experience», says Susan.
More than square meters and chairs
Your event planning should concentrate on totally different aspects than square meters, chairs and location, she explains, well aware that those are the very values most customers expect her to discuss.
«We have the rooms. We are centrally located and easy to get to. But that’s not where you should start your process», she begins.
«We guide our customers to the experience that’s right for them. Maybe they don’t need a convention hall and two large conference rooms. Maybe they should rather make a mini conference with 100 delegates while the larger audience follow the event through live stream and Social media. Maybe the convention should have a Speaker’s Corner? Or pop-up shops?»
«In other words, we must start with your goals. Only when we have identified them, we can think about the number of square meters and how to use them», Peter explains.
After a two years hiatus due to the pandemics, now is a great time to refresh your events. Because even though it’s nice to see normality finally return, the truth is that normality has changed.
We have changed. Our habits have changed. The market is changed.
Therefore, your next convention, conference, seminar – whatever you are planning – must follow suit.
Have turned the process around
This is where X Meeting Point’s solution designers can help you challenge your old ways.
«We use a lot more time on each customer and have in effect turned the whole process around: While the rest of the industry strives to land the contract first – securing the booking of X number of square meters, meals, and hotel rooms – we start with suggesting solutions. Only then we can start writing the contract», says Peter.
He offers a concrete case to explains their way of thinking:
«Each year in Q1, one of our customers have routinely had four leadership trainings sessions with 300 participants, spending a lot of time on travelling and check-in each time. This year, I challenged them. Now they do the whole training in one session, with one check-in. In this way, they only need a week for the training, saving three times 300 working days. Just by doing things a little differently.»
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