Do you often find yourself staring endlessly into the screen when trying to come up with new event ideas? Or has banging your head against the wall become your default coping mechanism when new event ideas dry up? Don't worry, you're not alone. Event Development Fatigue (EDF) is a real and serious disorder that affects many event managers, both new and experienced. But luckily, there are cures - and they don’t require a doctor's prescription.
#1 Tag Team - yep, just like wrestling
While most won't admit to watching or even liking wrestling, I'm not ashamed to say that I (used to) love it. Come on, it's effectively soap opera for men, and from the perspective of event production, a well-oiled machine. And if there’s one type of wrestling that I simply adored, it was tag team wrestling. It’s typically two guys (or girls) working together to achieve a goal. And believe it or not, the very same concept can be applied to your events.
For your next event, why not team up with someone who already has a solid idea, connections, or even better, a big budget. Use the opportunity to consider what value you might add to the event (e.g. venue, speakers, credibility, etc.) and use that as a jumping off point for teaming up. Over the last five years, I've used the strategy to co-organize events all over the globe that wouldn't have been possible if I'd gone solo. And sticking with the wrestling metaphor, what'll you'll likely discover is that it's much easier to win the match if you're working together (and of course if the opponents manager doesn't nail you with a metal chair when you're not looking).
Key takeaway: team up with someone who already has ideas, shares your vision, is well connected and funded and discover how you can add value to the event.
#2 Piggyback - we've all tried it, right?
Every evening around bedtime, my daughter suddenly becomes lifeless and completely unable to move from wherever she is - often far from her bed. The nightly routine invariably results in me offering a piggyback up the stairs and her springing back to life; things are so much easier when someone else is doing all the heavy lifting, right? And yes, this principle is also applicable to your events.
For your next event, why not take a look around and see which speakers are coming to town or who else is hosting an event? Think abou how can you leverage (aka piggyback) that opportunity. Can you invite the speaker to your event? Can you host an adjacent event using the venue and/or speaker? I recently gained access to a New York Times bestselling author using this method and managed to piece together a VIP event that sold out in less than 48 hrs. Even better, we got the speaker pro bono. How? The audience I presented was a value add to said author, which is a key point. As long as you can illuminate your event's value add, then we're talking win-wins.
Key takeaway: set up and constantly monitor your radar to identify opportunities to leverage existing events including speakers and venues while remembering to ask: how can my event add value?
#3 Recycle - if it ain't broke, why not reuse it?
I have a favorite brand of coffee that I subscribe to - not only literally, but actually have sent to me once a month (yes, I'm a coffee nerd). Why? Because it's the best I've found, I've consumed it for years, and of course, it quenches my caffeine craving. In other words, it's a setup that works well for me, alleviates decision fatigue and meets my requirements for success. Aren't these many of the same things we're looking for in our events?
Event managers, myself included, have become hooked on novelty. When we're cooking up new ideas for events, we tend to be so focused on keeping up with the Joneses that we forget to see that many of our current or past events are worth recycling. Sure, many events are one-offs and won't meet that standard, but we all have a handful in our repertoire that most certainly do. There's a reason why McDonald's never changes the sacred staples of its menu. Agreed, we've seen modifications of the famous fries (more salt, different oil, etc.) and the Big Mac now comes in different sizes, but the core product is still the same. So if you can't silence the novelty voices (I know we all hear them), why not modify your already successful event by adding a new spice to your secret sauce instead of starting from scratch.
Key takeaway: identify which events work best, what makes them successful and how they can be recycled as recurring events that over time can be modified to accommodate changing needs.
About the author
Howdy folks, I'm jocomo. I'm a branding, design and communication handyman who thrives on helping organisations become better at selling their products, services and themselves. Over the last 15 yrs. I've designed, organized, produced, managed, spoken at and emceed hundreds of events around the globe. Seeing how events are an integral part of how successful organizations build lasting relations with their stakeholders, I'm committed to illuminating and sharing my insights with others committed to the cause. Wanna learn more or have an idea about how we can work together? Give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jocomo.me to discover more.