1. Anticipate and address individual needs

Delegates appreciate being treated as individuals in the midst of dozens or even thousands, and are often pleasantly surprised when efforts are made to meet personal needs especially during larger events. This often comes from understanding the audience profile through gathering and analysing delegate information, and then anticipating the general and specific needs of the intended audience. This usually comes in the form of obtaining key personal preferences during the registration exercise, and then analysing such data to deal with needs. Providing amenities for the elderly and physically challenged, as well as dietary needs (halal, vegan, pescatarian etc.) are amongst basic needs to be addressed, along with more recent introductions like mobile device charging stations.

2. Clarity and Teamwork

Seamless experiences come from ensuring every stakeholder related to the event understands the event objectives and their related roles. This means providing all necessary information by way of visual guides to ensure every piece has its place. Delegates will enjoy the event more should they encounter smiles rather than scowls from stressed out event personnel. This implies strong interpersonal and communications skills on the part of the organiser and experience choosing the right team players and event partners to fulfill key requirements, such as venue and content. Proper communication to delegates before, during and even after the event (e.g. Directions, Timings, Logistics) is also important along these lines.

3. Proper planning and routing

Avoid fixating on providing a WOW experience at the expense of delegate patience; frustrated delegates stuck too long in traffic or traveling too long without proper breaks are less likely to appreciate your hard work (and even fireworks) in the final analysis. Proper venue selection and route planning to allow maximum time in an event than getting to an event also reduces the carbon footprint of the event.

4. Memorable Highlights

Whilst it would be costly to plan a special highlight at every turn of an event, try to plan for at least one special highlight during the event that delegates can appreciate as an extra effort to make them happy. This might be a special guest speaker, unique dinner, entertainment experience or even a souvenir with a warm welcome note attached. Something exclusive at the event not commonly enjoyed often works, e.g. a rare food or beverage, sometimes in partnership with sponsors.

5. Engage the mind and senses

As much as possible, ensure that content delivery is engaging and even interactive. At the most basic level, event presenters should be well-rehearsed with their materials ‘LIVE’ on-site to be at their best, with minimal hiccups from the dreaded “technical error” that usually turns out more human. Aim higher for sensual experiences that help reinforce the event messaging as much as possible. Whilst good facilities and F&B are hygiene factors, finer touches such as the right event soundtrack, natural lighting, and even the scent of the venue make a subtle but appreciable difference to delegates.