Life gets busy. Sometimes, we can get caught up in what we’re doing, slide into autopilot and forget to stop and think about why we are doing what we’re doing.
The other day I caught myself taking clean clothes out of the dryer and matching up my daughter’s socks, folding them, and then putting them in a neat pile in her room—a normal mom-like task, right?
Sure. Except that my daughter hasn’t actually worn matching socks in years.
Apparently, it’s a thing—to wear mismatched socks that is. So, why am I taking the time to match them up for her? It makes no sense, but I have been doing it since she was a baby, so I’ve continued to do it all these years without really giving much thought to it.
“In order to truly measure event success, you need to know if you’ve met your goals or not and if you met the expectations of your attendees.”
The same can happen with event planning. After years of planning the same event from one year to to the next, we sometimes get in a rhythm and act without self-awareness. We repeat things from previous years and follow the “recipe for success” that we have established without necessarily questioning if our goals and objectives have changed or if our event attendees have the same needs as they once did.
How can we know if the event is a success if there is no stated goal to achieve or if there are no checks and balances that measure success and compare from one year to the next?
Determining factors of a successful event
Profit/loss reports – Did your event make money? How much more (or less) than previous years?
Event Flow & Operations – Did a speaker show up late? Did room flips run overtime? Did you run out of coffee at the break? All of these small execution problems may cost money or create a shift in how attendees feel about your event.
Engagement – Did more people come this year than last? Less? Are people participating actively in Q&A’s? Did someone new join your organization because of attending the event last year? Are attendees tweeting about your event?
In order to truly measure event success, you need to know if you’ve met your goals or not and if you met the expectations of your attendees. Furthermore, you cannot assume that just because everything you did last year to make your event a success is the same stuff you need to do this time around. Things change. Just like they did with the sock situation in my household.
“After years of planning the same event from one year to to the next, we sometimes get in a rhythm and act without self-awareness.”
Once upon a time, me taking care of the laundry in a neat and orderly fashion by matching and folding socks was a good thing. I was meeting my goal of keeping things tidy and I thought I was helping my daughter get dressed quicker in the morning. Turns out that what I was really doing was not paying attention to the fact that my daughter’s needs (as they relate to clean socks) have changed. She was actually undoing what I did because she didn’t want to wear matching socks making my efforts completely futile. My version of success (clean, matched and folded socks) was her version of failure. I was operating on autopilot and not paying attention.
Moral of the story …
At home, I’m not folding socks anymore and I have an extra 10 minutes in my day.
At work, I’m paying way more attention to what really defines event success!
CanSPEP member Krista Benoit is the president and CEO of iSPARK Consulting Inc., an Ottawa-Gatineau-based company offering marketing, communications, event planning/management, and sponsorship services on a contract/consulting basis. For more information visit www.isparkconsulting.ca. The Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) is a dynamic, diverse and innovative society of independent event professionals with a leading national voice in the event industry. It is the only association in Canada that offers an exclusive membership to independent event planner entrepreneurs. Formed in 1996, CanSPEP provides forums in which members exchange ideas, develop skills through educational programs and create a public awareness around the profession of event planners.