Running a good event

Why is it that some events run smoothly, with flair and a ‘buzz’ in the air? And others stagger from crisis to crisis – which, even if not visible to the audience, takes a toll on the organisers?badges
Jo Griffiths, event organiser with Education and Consultancy Services Ltd (ECS) drew upon her two decades of event experience to share lessons with an audience of about 25 people from across the School of Technology on 7th February. This was part of a continuing series of informal talks sharing pragmatic good practice in getting research understood and adopted as soon and as widely as possible.
Blindingly obvious, but not always defined and agreed, is the starting point – why are you holding the event at all? Who do you need to be there? And with this clearly in mind you can begin to design the event to appeal to that chosen audience and to deliver that chosen purpose.
badges2Jo described they key considerations in designing the event – choosing a venue that supports the audience’s expectations, with the all-important service element as well as facilities. She showed some outline planning templates and described key decision points, described how to manage publicity and invitations – and emphasised the importance of quality and consistency to support the University’s brand image (and that of the organiser).
One idea for checking your plans for an event really caught the imagination of the audience – why not do an imagined ‘walk-through’ of the participants’ experience of the event? What do they see when they first arrive? Who greets them? Where? And what do they do next?
Finally Jo described some of the ways in which you might make your event that little bit different to give it a freshness and liveliness for participants. Simple things like varying the selection of biscuits during the day through to more exotic ideas – falconry, anyone, as part of an ‘English theme’?
Jo and her team from Education and Consultancy Services can provide advice and guidance, or they can manage the whole event for you, covering design, marketing and publicity, invitations and management on the day. Give them a call.
If you would like to be on the mailing list for future talks in this series please contact Charles Boulton (cb683@cam.ac.uk). Further information on the Engineering Department’s theme on ‘Inspiring research through industrial collaboration’ can be found at www.engineerimpact.info or by following twitter.com/engineerimpact.

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