When Planners Assume, ______ by @JennG_

I don’t need to finish that phrase. You’re probably already filling in the blank with your own negative scenarios. When planners assume, wires get crossed. Things fall through the cracks. We can all relate to the feeling when something doesn’t turn out like we thought it would. When you’re consumed by the events industry, it’s hard to remember that everyone in your industry or circle is not really everyone.

When you are surrounded by your team, it’s easy to assume:

  1. Everyone has heard of your event. It’s hard to believe, but there are people who don’t know what the “Harlem Shake” is, let alone know about your event.
  2. Everyone loves your event. It’s hard not to think your event is great. It’s a collection of your ideas.
  3. Everyone who likes your event will come. They may have told you in person how great your event is, liked you on Facebook or tweeted about you, but factors including time and money can still keep your most loyal fans away. Every choice someone makes to attend means they are sacrificing something else.

How do you avoid this black hole of insular thinking? First, as I mentioned last month, open your planning committee to people outside your team or company. Also, stay on top of feedback. What actually worked? Don’t solely let the people who had the nerve to approach you (and likely had the strongest feelings) dictate your sentiment toward aspects of your event. Use post-con data, attendance numbers and history to help you make concrete decisions about future events. Reach people not on your current lists using social media that targets your subject area through topical hashtags, forums and blogs. Attend events that are completely different from yours in content, layout and audience. You can discover methods, formats or speakers no one in your industry is using. And before I sound too cynical, use the people who do know about, love and attend your event. After all, you don’t want to lose the ones you have.

How do you keep yourself from becoming too insular?


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