Words by the fabulous event organisers at PONY Express Speaker’s Club
Many years of putting on events have taught us at PONY Express that nothing beats the ‘learning by doing’ strategy. But, especially if you’re just starting out, following these simple steps will definitely make things a lot easier. Consider them a distillation of our 3,000+ hour learning curve.
1. Be CLEAR about your WHY!
We started with no clear idea apart from wanting to give people a stage to practise their public speaking in a safe environment. We were in no rush to monetise on anything. And we didn’t until 2 years down the line. Now, we successfully run 50 events a year. Money wasn’t in our WHY.
Why are you putting on your event? To build a community? For people to network? To generate leads and sales? To have fun? Generate PR? Build-up your reputation? Start with putting your thinking cap on and brainstorm on the above questions.
Don’t have all the answers yet? Don’t let that hold you back. Start experimenting. You will have a much clearer idea about your WHY after the first event – just in case you struggle with this.
2. WHO do you want to have in the room?
It is all very good filling a room with people who seem fun, but what if they will never directly help you to fulfil the WHY of your event?
Part of your job is to discover your ‘tribe’ and then go find these people. We soon discovered the PONY Express tribe are business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs and coaches. We started with a group on Facebook and have now extended to attracting attendees via LinkedIn. Where do your people hang out? In co-working spaces? On Meet-up? In Universities? In raw food restaurants? As soon as you know, go find those people by printing flyers, use Facebook advertising, put your event up on KweekWeek and use their promotional/event management tools like integrated email marketing, ticket sales statistics and questionnaires.
3. Write a Check-list and FOLLOW IT!
I know you’ve spent at least a week writing a mental check-list, scanning through it over and over again every morning on the Northern Line on your way to work! Write things down and tick them off once done. This will enormously help with your planning and you can also see what still needs to be done. It’s easy to lose track of things when you’re thrown into the middle of your very lively and fast-paced event and you’re multi-tasking furiously. At the event, have your check-list handy to note down things to do even better next time and take time reviewing after the event.
4. Build a CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM!
Teamwork makes the dream work! So cliché but true. Here’s what we’ve found: you need someone there to check people in at the door(you can scan attendees in via KweekWeek’s app) and a number of people helping you making introductions and connect people. You also need a good photographer. The photos can be used for your social media and future flyers, brochures or some good PR. You also need people helping you to clean up. You are only one person with two arms and two hands not an octopus. People are always happy to support amazing events for free so don’t be afraid to ask.
5. REMEMBER that things will go wrong!
Above all else, STAY COOL & breathe (note this down a few times on your check-list and keep reminding yourself)! Who is the better event host – crazy Donald Duck or graceful Minnie Mouse? YES, it is your job to be stressed getting things right, but it is your RIGHT to ENJOY them when they do.
THINGS WILL GO WRONG. Don’t worry about it. For now: just get started! Be creative! Embrace the unknown! HAVE FUN filling your room with great people …develop a wide smile for the things going wrong, and Fall in LOVE with Putting on Kick-Ass Events!
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