What makes a successful business event?

With so many business events being put on, from networking to training, you really need to come up with something a little different.  USPs(Unique Selling Point) is the annoying acronym that should be inserted in to that statement.   There have been some excellent examples recently of really good and interesting events, targeted to specific markets or catering to specific talented.  LinkedIn Local, Digital Meetups and the relaunched Codeharbour are all events that have certainly caught my attention.  Each combine, for me, the essence of a good event, the main being, no one is trying to sell me anything!  There are people there that I could buy from, sell to or connect with, but the main thrust of the meeting is not to be flogged something by the business event organiser.

There is a train of thought that networking is the be all and end all of business life. Whilst I would say that networking in business is important, there has to be a balance. Attending networking can be a costly affair, either due to membership fees, breakfast / lunch or refreshments on the day, travel and parking costs, there is also the time element. My time is valuable and spending time networking has an ultimate cost to my business.  I am not alone in this train of thought, so if you want your networking or event to be successful, think about the needs of the people you want to attend.  If it is all about you as an organiser, to create an audience for a sales pitch, it will be a short-lived affair.

Everyone has their own decision-making process.  My decision to attend networking events, seminars or workshops is based on the answer to several questions I always ask myself

–       Is the person running / leading the event someone that knows their stuff?

–       Is the event really just a sales pitch?

–       If I don’t buy anything or sign up to anything, will I walk away with any useful knowledge?

–       Is it likely to be the same people I saw at an event the day before, but just at a different venue?

–       How busy is the event likely to be, is it well publicised and picking up social media interest?

–       Is it at 6.30am somewhere with no parking?  Perhaps these should be separate points, because either of these would lead to me considering not booking.

So remember, if you are running an event, be it networking or other, consider your target audience and what they actually need from an event.  Thinking about your ultimate end audience is the key to success.