Today I’m giving you 5 tips to being the perfect version of a host – tips that you can use for both your private party and your next worldwide event.
So, let’s get to it:
1. Plan the event according to your target group not your own interests
I know you plan lots and lots of events every year and that you are sick and tired of having chicken for dinner or going to Berlin for the annual general meeting, but if chickens goes better than beef with your participants, or Berlin is easier for everybody to reach, you have to accept this.
Of course, you shouldn’t go to Berlin every time if it is not necessary, but that is a whole other story.
(Read my blog post about enhancing your event experience: 3 essential ways to enhance your event experience)
2. Involve the participants
The era of sitting in theater style rows of chairs listening to endless speeches for hour on hour has passed. Participants today want to be…participants! They want to take part in the game and have room for giving their input. So to be a good host is about listening to them. What are their interests and needs, and how can you support this at your event – be it by arranging activities and group work, design an app, or have them draw pictures of their input.
(Read my blog post about teambuilding: Buzzword: Teambuilding)
3. Plan the logistics to match the event
Logistics are a huge part of designing an event, and us planners have to be aware of so many details when it comes to the logistics. Food allergies, shared rooms, airport pickups, room sizes, AV equipment and so on and so forth. But do you remember to arrange for transportation by train when your delegates arrive for your event about saving our planet, instead of pick ups by car? Or how about serving finger foods when an important part of the lunch break is the networking aspect?
(Read my blog post about the finger food issue: Does your business card come with dressing on the side?)
Sometimes you can get so caught up in an event that you live and breathe it…but your attendees don’t. So remember to communicate every detail to them: Time and place is a given, but don’t forget dress code, information about parking/other means of transportation, schedules, and last but not least your expectations to them (do they need to prepare anything, pick something up before entering, pay for incidentals, etc. etc.).
This does not mean that you can’t have secrets and arrange surprises during the event, but there are practical details that are necessary for your attendees. And remember to make these readily available – preferably in an E-mail to them a day or two before the beginning of your event.
5. Be a good host onsite
Once at the event, make sure you and your colleagues are all on the same page when it comes to ‘what makes a good host’. I have seen MANY examples of employees from the hosting company sitting at the same table for dinner or standing around talking to each other. You talk to your colleagues every day so go out and meet new people/clients/potential clients/etc. during the event. This way you can also include those standing alone in the corner in conversations by introducing them to other people – and that is the work of a good host.
Of course, there are times when it is more appropriate for the employees from the hosting company to sit together (like in situations where they have tasks during the dinner which means that they might not sit there through the entire dinner…in this case, leaving the table would be ‘un-host-like’), but in most cases, it is better to seat one employee at each table.
After all, our industry is also called the hospitality business, so let’s be hospitable.
Want to join me?