If your event is a long one, chances are likely you’ll want to let your attendees have a little fun. Two or three days of attending sessions is plenty enough to earn a party, don’t you think?
Logistics and creativity must be put into gear if you’re going to pull off a fun activity. It’s not always easy though! Your audience, aside from having one thing in common that brings them to this event, is a very diverse group. Planning something that people of all ages and all walks of life can enjoy can be an intimidating prospect!
Here are a couple of hints that might get you going in the right direction:
Take your group demographics into consideration – Understand who your audience is. If you have a 75% male audience attending a plumbers’ convention, you’re probably not going to propose a day at the spa as your activity, or anything else that’s decidedly “girly.” If your audience is entirely under the age of 30, an 80s party might not be the thing to do, because they’ve probably never seen leg warmers and shaker knit sweaters, let alone know who Thomas Dolby is. (So sad…)
Consider your geography and the spirit of the people you’re visiting – If your attendees have travelled to reach the meeting destination, they’re likely going to be curious about the surrounding area and what it has to offer. This is the opportunity to show them! If your conference is down south, you could try throwing a down-home barbecue. If you’re out west, a hoedown might be in order! This allows you to satisfy the interests of your audience and gives you the opportunity to sample some of what the area does best. That will make you look good!
Remember how co-workers behave with one another – This isn’t a wedding, filled with people who know each other personally and intimately. So the chances are likely that these people aren’t going to want to slow dance together. This doesn’t mean that dancing is out – but a good square dance lesson or the Electric Slide might be more what’s called for. Something like a casino night might work out well, where people can gamble with play money and learn some new casino games.
Think about the logistics if taking the group off site – If you decide to travel, that’s going to up your budget and require some serious logistical planning. Negotiate a contract with a local transportation company. Try to ensure that there’s a rotation of buses going between the hotel and the destination, so people can come and go as they please.
Consider the ramifications if your attendees can’t depart from the activity at will – I attended an event once that I didn’t plan, and a portion of that event was a boat trip around the harbor in Chicago. It was definitely a party boat, with good music and good food, but I was not the only attendee that hesitated, because once I stepped on the boat, there was no getting back home until it came to dock. You’re likely to lose some of your attendees if that’s the case. I ended up not going and took myself out for a burger later that night.
Fun activities can be the highlight of your event, so plan carefully, but be generous and make sure all your guests can have a good time!
Next post: Thursday, December 19