July 1, 2015 Faz

Running Successful Events 101

Successful Events 1: The Basics

Events might seem like a simple and straightforward process – but in truth, they require a lot of thoughtful planning and finesse in order to be successful. Many people make the mistake of thinking that all events are the same or that similar events are run in the same manner, but this is rarely the case. First, though we need to go through the basics before we get into more complicated elements of handling large scale events.

Background
My name is Hifazat Ahmad – or Faz for short. I now live in Canada, but I was born in the UAE and have worked all over the world in a number of capacities. One of my biggest former roles was as the Event Director for The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference(ADIPEC), the largest Oil & Gas show outside of North America. I was responsible for the event overall, overseeing everything from planning and execution to maintaining key relationships with various ministries and national oil companies. ADIPEC brings together over 50,000 visitors – 5,000 of them being VIPs, including royalty and governmental ministers. The event every year houses 1500+ exhibitors from 89 countries and occupies over 33,000 square meters of space.

The Success Equation
A good conference will either help the attendees save cost via fixing a problem, or will help them create more revenue with more opportunities. By keeping this in mind and using it as a basic check, you can do a quick evaluation of what value your event has to offer.

Buyers & Sellers
This is one of the most critical elements of any successful event venture. If you cannot clearly identify who the buyers and sellers are, it will be very difficult for you to plan and successfully execute any sort of event. Knowing how these people fit into their respective groups will help you to ascertain how to best interact with them.

Awards Shows
On the surface, Awards Shows – whether entertainment or business-related – seem straight forward, but they require a great deal of care to set up. The buyers are the attendees. The sellers are any sponsors you might have, or even keynote speakers.

The real trouble with Awards Shows comes down to credibility. No one creates the Academy Awards overnight. These are a couple of factors which help in establishing and maintaining the credibility of such events:

Award Criteria – This is an absolute must, from the awards’ standards to the nominees, all the way to the judges themselves. The more stringent criteria are, the more readily people will be willing to accept them.

Award Nominees – Who you select for your awards is a big deal. If you are able to recognize someone who has some sort of pull in a community, like a celebrity or a well-known and followed executive, each nominee must be beyond reproach in terms of being qualified for the award given.

Without credibility, an Awards Show is destined to flop.

Conferences
These are very common, especially with industries such as medicine and law. The buyers are the attendees and the sellers are those selected to speak. The attendees are all coming to go to various seminars and to connect with a wide variety of people that they otherwise would not likely meet.

For this reason, it’s essential to really know your targets. What do they want to hear? What will help them in their professional lives? What will really encourage them to sign up for your event in droves?

Exhibitions
Hands down some of the biggest and most complicated events, these tend to be industry-related and highly focused, for example in construction or in technology. The buyers are the individual attendees and the sellers are the individuals who will man exhibition booths.

Knowing the customer is of the utmost importance. It doesn’t matter how many exhibits you line up – if they aren’t offering what customers are going to want, you’re going to be out of luck. Make sure that your sellers compliment the overall theme and that they offer something genuinely intriguing to your customer base.

Know Your Industry
Being able to separate the various types of events and identify key factors will enable you to make your own events run more smoothly. For instance, if you are trying to start an Awards Show, but aren’t getting much traction, ask yourself about the process for the awards, who you’re inviting, whether or not the standards pass scrutiny, et cetera. The same goes for deconstructing the other types and will be incredibly important if you wish to get the most out of your events, both monetarily and in terms of attendees.

Only once you can identify the really important parts can you then go in and fine-tune your event to make it great. Good luck and stay tuned – we’ll be going deeper into this topic in the weeks ahead.

Have you had trouble with running or planning an event – or have you had some success? Let us know about your own experiences below

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About the Author

Faz I help business grow through growth strategy, diversification and "future-enabling" them. Passionate about conscious capitalism and helping SMEs, Entrepreneurs and StartUps grow locally and internationally. My expertise are in Media, Publishing, Events, Oil & Gas and Startups. I have executed business transactions in over 20 countries and grown businesses in two recessions.