Storyboarding Success: The Art of Crafting Unforgettable Events￼
The role of meeting planners is quickly evolving from individuals who orchestrate gatherings to those that curate experiences. And in an era of ever-evolving audience expectations and shortening attention spans, it's time to expand the role to include "experience designers".
It's not just about meeting logistics anymore; it's about crafting a memorable experience from start to finish.
Why Event Planners Need to Create Memorable Events
Enhanced Information Retention: Cognitive science suggests that experiences tied to strong emotions or unique occurrences are more easily remembered. Memorable events, therefore, ensure that attendees not only receive information but retain it better, maximizing the event's impact.
Evolution of Audience Expectations: Modern attendees seek more than just information; they crave memorable experiences. With exposure to a plethora of well-curated digital events and interactive platforms, the bar has been raised. Audiences want events that inspire, engage, and remain etched in their memory.
Fostering Passion: A memorable event can kindle or deepen an attendee's passion for an organization or cause. When participants walk away feeling inspired and connected, they become more enthusiastic advocates, sharing their experience and championing the organization's mission.
Building Long-Term Loyalty: Memorable experiences encourage attendees to return. If they had an unforgettable time one year, they're more likely to sign up for subsequent events, ensuring a consistent and loyal audience base year after year.
And the key to crafting unforgettable experiences is to start thinking of an event as a storyboard. Much like a filmmaker plots the journey of their hero, planners should think about their attendee's experience as a scene-by-scene story line.
By identifying the main 'scenes' or touchpoints of an event, we can meticulously sculpt each moment, adding elements of surprise, emotion, and personalization, and ensuring that it leaves a lasting impression.
Specifically, the best event designers think of the following three elements:
Harnessing Multi-Sensory Engagement: As our understanding of memory and recall deepens, it's clear that engaging multiple senses enhances retention and enjoyment. This could be anything from the ambiance and lighting of a room to the tactile materials used in workshops, or the smells we bring into an event.
Incorporating Surprise Elements: The human brain is wired to remember anomalies. By introducing unexpected moments or elements into an event, experience designers ensure these moments stick in attendees' memories.
Prioritizing Co-Creation: Involving attendees in the creation or decision-making processes of an event can lead to increased ownership and a feeling of belonging. This approach not only fosters engagement but can also lead to invaluable feedback and ideas.
Want to put these elements into practice?
I recently facilitated a joint meeting of members from PCMA and MPI to brainstorm 100 different ideas to make our events memorable. We broke down the event journey into the following scenes: the lead-up to the event, arrival, the main content, the departure, and post event follow-up. For each scene, we shared things we've done or seen that could make any event stand out.
I've turned that discussion into a handy checklist. It's a treasure trove of inspiration to make your next event truly memorable. Download it below!
Remember, every event is an opportunity to tell a story, craft an experience, and leave a mark. As we embrace the role of an experience designer, we're not just planning meetings—we're creating memories that will resonate for a lifetime.
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