andy@ideagroupatlanta.com | (404) 213-4416
12
FEB
2013

There’s Nothing More Dangerous Than A Successful Event

The audience applauds, the surveys show dazzling reviews, presenters, executives, marketing and trade show teams are getting tennis elbow from patting each other on the back. What are you going to do next time? That’s easy. Design more successful events. Don’t mess with success. Just do the same thing again! Wrong – danger – danger – danger!

One Moment In Time

That success was unique. All the planets were in alignment. Content, marketing, audience, speakers, location, booth design … the list goes on. Whatever the variables, they all came together to create that moment in time. So revel in it. Bask in the golden afterglow, because it’s like your first wedding night. It will never happen quite that way ever again.

Listen, Brothers & Sisters!

“People say let’s do this again. Now, how you going to do that? You can’t do anything again, brother. Once it’s done, it’s gone! But you can do something similar.”

Comedian Brother Dave Gardner

Once It’s Done, It’s Gone!

One of the dangerous assumptions in business is If It Worked Before, Let’s Do It Again. The communication plan we used before becomes the new communication plan. We basically photocopy the last event design and make it the next event design, and just plug in a new theme. (Important disclaimer – I’m not talking about training or workshop sessions that are designed to be delivered many times. Relax. You’re cool.)

The fantasy of repeating an event or plan is the idea that all the hard work is done. The uncertainty is gone, and you have some basis for comparison and measurement. The problem is … you don’t. Nothing is really the same.

Think It Out

The audience is different. Even if they’re the same people, their lives, businesses and expectations have changed.

The audience has seen and heard it before. It’s a temptation to take the last agenda and just substitute things. You open the session the same way, book a similar guest speaker and close the same way. Maybe you just set up the trade show booth and show up. The result is a look-alike show, and no one is fooled. Would you serve your clients the same menu every night with just a different tablecloth?

It costs more to try to do it again. The assumption is that the costs will be the same, or less. But the last event set the standard. Everyone involved has a comparison, so you are competing against yourself. As a result, you spend more trying to be better.

It’s more work and hassle. The objectives are different and the expectations are even higher than last time. Everyone wants to relive the “high” of the earlier event. So instead of focusing on new objectives, you spend more time and effort attempting to do it “just like last time.”

The results will be different. If the people, their attitudes, situations and expectations have changed, then so will the results. The setting and all the meeting mechanics don’t generate results. The content does.

Quick SWOT Analysis

Quick assessment of the situation:

•  The audience has changed.
•  The expectations are higher
•  It costs more.
•  It’s more work and hassle
•  There’s no guarantee you’ll get the same results.

Obvious conclusion – Do something new!

Do Something Similar

You can do something new and still match the things that people actually valued from the earlier event. Focus on:

Topics that are important to the audience

Strong content that is timely & relevant

A mixture of information & interaction

The right people & some opportunities to just talk

So instead of attempting to “do it again,” do something new. The goal is to recreate the uniqueness and great feelings of the last experience. You can achieve that only if you make the next event the milestone. In this business, that’s the secret to success and happiness.

“What is success? Dear hearts, success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

Brother Dave Gardner

 

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events.One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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