Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Entertainment Should Always be the Top Priority at a Business Event

Two revealing moments today about entertainment at events. The first came late this afternoon while sitting in an organizing committee meeting for a new awards event launching in Orange County (more news on that in a few months). While discussing sponsor benefits the topic of introductions of award recipients came up and most of the committee was leaning toward the common practice at business events; Introduce a sponsor who in turn introduces the award recipient. Depending on the event you go to that process can last two minutes and more often lasts ten.

I've talked about this process before. Why would we subject an audience to a tedious process that we ourselves do not like to endure when we are the attendee? It is an anti-entertainment dogma that must be stopped. A sponsor on a stage is not a "wow-fun" memorable moment and you should not subject your sponsors to the negative side effects. Instead, find ways to give them the branding they crave, without bringing them to the stage.

Think of it this way -- Would I be entertained? Which brings me to my second revealing moment today. I attended a reception/party for a mid-cap finance conference this evening.

As boring as that sounds from the outside I would venture to say the annual Roth Capital Conference is one of the most popular, gotta-be-there, conferences in the country. The reason? They stumble over themselves trying to find interesting ways to make every day a fun day. Tonight's headliner onstage just won a Grammy for top rap artist. Yah! That guy! I would mention his name but do not need the errant search hits coming here.

Throughout the conference the organizers sprinkle incredible fun into the day and they don't get hung up on procedure. There was no introductions tonight, no speeches of welcome and nothing from the stage about purpose, cause, or sponsors. They just turned everyone loose to do what they came to do -- network and have fun.

I talked with a lot of the sponsors and their unanimous response was, "Heck yah this is worth every penny we spent!"

Next time you are creating an event think hard about the entertainment value of every moment. Would I LOVE to attend an event such as I am creating?