I’ve traveled the world looking for best practices in the live events industry. To be triumphant, and plan live events that will reach their full potential, you must create attendee experiences that are revolutionary. Here are 5 steps that’ll help event marketers, planners, organizers, and designers create unforgettable experiences:
Step 1- Prepare a “show stopping” layout:
No one wants too many people at their event. Do what you can to prevent attendees from entering your venue by designing visible and physical obstacles. Start by blocking the perimeter of your event space with tables and bulky furniture. Pay close attention to the entrances where most attendees will try to enter. The more barriers you build, the fewer attendees you’ll have to worry about.
Step 2- Mix in puzzling graphics:
The goal here is to keep attendees guessing by doing your best to be vague about your brand and what you do. Use wordy text and muddled graphics to baffle even the savviest event goer. Keep branding to a minimum and do not make signage visible from all sides of your event or exhibit. Also, don’t rely on your company’s “graphic and brand standards guide.” If these were to be taken seriously they would be called the “golden standards book” and not simply a “guide.”
Step 3- Sprinkle on different staffing techniques:
The term “attendee engagement” is overrated when it comes to creating a brand experience. Your team of representatives should be hard for attendees to find. If attendees have questions, lead them around your event or exhibit to different team members until you run out of options and/or the attendees lose interest… whichever comes first! For that matter, some attendees should simply be ignored. Another technique is to include some strong verbal and non-verbal communications such as saying “Talk-to-the-hand,” conversing with other teammates in a mass huddle, and my favorite—taking off your shoes during the event.
Step 4- Finish with a hint of deconstructive traffic building:
I’ve saved the best for last! Try a traffic builder that brings them in and lets them down… hard! Teasing the attendee with a giveaway and then making them fill out a seven page survey is a good start. More sophisticated methods include producing a traffic builder that has absolutely nothing to do with your company or product offerings. This leaves attendees bewildered as to why they visited your event or exhibit in the first place and nearly guarantees they’ll never return.
Step 5 - April Fools!
What you‘ve read is a recipe for a disastrous event, one that will spoil the attendee experience, which is something NONE of us want to do. Next time you’re at an event, be sure to read our recipe to spoil success – and do the opposite.
For real best practices, check out our latest Trend Tracker Report.
Editor’s note: This post was updated April 1, 2016 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.