And that’s a good thing !!
Special events have evolved. Gone (for the most part) are the rubber chicken dinners — with a dais or a two-or-three-tier head table on stage, featuring the board or the event committee and lead sponsors sitting and eating dinner while the rest of the guests stare up at them.
That model was fairly universal, city after city across the country.
It took an enormous amount of time and cajoling to get everyone lined up backstage for the grand entrance; it asked a lot of the event’s emcee, who had to introduce each person as they walked on stage; it took a lighting crew to man the spotlights that followed each honored guest to their appointed place; and it “required” that the audience stand up and applaud for each person being introduced.
Imagine doing that for 30 to 40 people, and having to prep the emcee with the correct pronunciation of each name. No wonder so many events ran for hours and hours with fewer and fewer attendees left at the bitter end. Trying to do too many things in one evening is a sure way to send people home early.
Thank goodness the lesson has been learned, and the dais is gone (or should be) and events are timed to last no more than 2 hours (the sitting/attention span of most adults at the end of the day).
Events have grown up along with their focus. They don’t include every favorite activity of every board and staff member, but now take the needs of the paying guests into consideration.
Honoring too many people (more than 2 or 3 is too many), with too many talking heads, can be deadly. A fast-paced program with videos about the honorees is far more engaging than hearing presenter after presenter goes on and on about the person who has yet to get near the stage to be recognized.
The special event three-course plated dinner is no longer the model. A two-hour reception in an exciting location with great food and networking is fast becoming the way to go.
When the invitation comes for next year’s event, will people remember being talked at all evening or will they remember a program that was short and sweet … and fun?
Before planning that special event, think about your potential audience and what they want. Isn’t it time to shake it up and have everyone talking about your organization and your event? Make it happen … be creative, and make your event “special.”
Have a comment or a question about creating or expanding your special event?
Ask Natalie. With over 30 years in conference and event planning, she can help you turn your vision into reality.
Have you seen Natalie’s ebook on Special Events ??
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