Creating successful corporate events in the post-pandemic era looks slightly different. You must cater to diverse attendee personalities by ensuring meaningful connections. To ensure excellence, challenge your perceptions, personalize engagement through personas, and foster individualized networking opportunities.
It’s no secret that events are back. Although they might not look the same as in years past, they’re still one of the best means of creating strong connections between businesses and the people they serve. The trick is creating an experience that’s rewarding and memorable for everyone. You want all attendees to pull up to the event space just as curious and excited about what’s in store as the day their invitations arrived — and leave while still talking about your business.
That’s why it’s so important to cater to the diverse personalities of the people in attendance. It can impact not only the success of your event but also that of your business. It’s all about connecting the right dots to strike a balance between the wants, needs, interests, and preferences of each segment of attendees. However, this is often easier said than done.
For any senior executive hoping to hit their next event out of the park, here are three tips to ensure you’re creating something that will be meaningful for everyone:
- Challenge your perceptions.
Attendees share many commonalities when coming to an event — corporate events included — and these traits can help inform the various activities, discussions, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and other experiential aspects of the affair. However, these commonalities should only serve as a foundation. To create a truly exceptional experience, you’ll also want to accommodate a variety of different personality types. Challenge your perceptions of your ideal participant; not everyone in attendance will be an outgoing salesperson who’s ready to mix and mingle.
Create a safe environment for everyone involved by incorporating opportunities for attendees to choose their own experiences. Perhaps a mobile component would allow the more introverted people to participate without getting into the thick of it. Maybe create touchpoints where different personality types can showcase their expertise. But most importantly, give people an idea of what to expect from the event. People who aren’t as comfortable with large-scale events tend to avoid surprises. The last thing you want is to alienate anyone at the gathering.
- Personalize engagement.
Much like marketing, events have become increasingly microtargeted over the past few years. It gives eventgoers a greater opportunity to bond and geek out over whatever shared interest they might hold. Targeting, in any form, also makes it much easier to personalize the event content to resonate with different segments of attendees, thereby driving more meaningful interactions and engagements from start to finish — none of which would be possible without attendee personas.
Build attendee personas as you would any other persona used for marketing purposes. Just make sure to go beyond basic demographics by staying informed about what’s happening with your target audience. The more details you can capture, the better. Such insights ensure that you’re able to give people what they want, helping to minimize any barriers that might prevent certain eventgoers from fully participating in the experience.
For example, augmented reality experiences could be of benefit. They’re known for fostering high engagement levels among extroverts and introverts. In fact, integrating any technology can bridge gaps and provide an air of personalization by way of live polls, surveys, social media posts, and recommended activities.
- Nurture reluctant networkers.
Not everyone will be inclined to network. Even extroverts can struggle with the process. Adrian Si, director of marketing strategy at ASV, has a solution for senior executives who hope to help their employees network more.
“For larger companies, creating various clubs and organizations will encourage like-minded individuals to participate in networking events,” Si says. He recommends focusing these organizations on ethnicity, religion, shared hobbies, or professional opportunities. Reasonable budgets should be made available so each organization can create fun events that will attract participants and make them valuable to both the individual and the company. This might include guest speakers, films, and food and beverages.
Smaller companies may not have large budgets for a wide range of clubs or enough staff to attend them. So, you’ll have to take a different approach. “Create a small pool of funds, say $10,000, that can be shared amongst your employees and used specifically for networking amongst themselves,” he says. “This can be kept casual or made more formal by requiring participants to create a base charter for their club. This can include who they are, what they have in common, what events they want to have, and what they want to accomplish.” For a heightened level of formality, Si recommends requesting monthly reports to verify authenticity. However, if the primary aim is relaxed networking, then formality could detract from that aspect.
Anyone can host an event. All you really need is an email list, venue, and basic framework to get something off the ground. But for the event to be successful, you need to consider all the various personalities that will be in attendance.
Are you offering something for everyone? Does each attendee feel safe and comfortable to geek out when they want to geek out? When executed correctly, your next corporate event can keep people talking for weeks — if not months — to come.
Written by Rhett Power.
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