One of the best ways to ensure you are on the right track to producing a successful event starts at the very beginning—at the first meeting with a new client. You must have a crystal clear picture of the overarching goal of the gathering. Here are two key questions that must be answered by your client before you can proceed to the next step:
1. What is the purpose or the mission of this event?
2. What is the “why” behind the event? Is it to entertain? To inform? To reward? To motivate?
The answer will likely be a combination of at least two of the whys, but there must be one central reason for it—and then you must keep that main reason or goal in mind as you progress through the planning stages. The answers to these questions may also be a simple sentence or it may incorporate several different reasons. It doesn’t matter how many (or how few) there are; just be sure that the goals are realistic, concrete, and that you identify how you will measure their success.
If the goal is specific (as in raise X amount of money), then the way to measure success is more obvious. Another goal could be to increase brand awareness for a client’s new line of products, for which the measures of success could be increased product sales, store visits, or website traffic immediately following the event. If the goal is for people to have a good time, then the measures used to track success are a little more qualitative, based on your client’s reactions and the reactions of the guests you are hoping to entertain.
Defining the goal of the event should be your number one priority. Why does the client really want to have this event? This may seem obvious, but if you haven’t heard the reason or reasons straight from the client’s mouth and then discussed what kind of event and activities would satisfy those objectives, then you don’t know the end goal. That will only lead to one conclusion— you’ll end up wasting a lot of your precious time and money. Without a clear understanding of what you or the client is trying to achieve, you also risk possible embarrassment and loss of good reputation.
Now, if a client wants to have a party for no reason at all, then that’s great—as long as you know that from the start. “There is no wrong goal, as long as it’s the one that is communicated by your client” Tweet This Quote
For the most part, people will approach you with highly specific goals and ambitions for their events. Events have a lot more continuity and impact when the purpose and the goal are clearly visible from beginning to end.
When in doubt, clarify and clarify again what the client’s vision is for the event. Err on the side of caution and never ASSUME what a client wants. People are so different, and in my experience, the moment you start presuming to know what clients want is the moment your career is in jeopardy.
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