7 Things we learned from hosting our first event
Last month we hosted our first event, where three of our team members gave talks around the subject of investing in design.
The event was a success, and we are planning more – but with this being our first event, we have learned plenty that will help us with planning and hosting future events.
Here are 7 things we learned from hosting our first event:
1. Planning your own event takes longer than you expect.
This event was organised by our Senior Designer Charlotte, who put together a comprehensive timeline detailing everything we would need to do, and when. Charlotte says:
I had never put on an event before, but I quickly found out that everything takes so much longer than you expect. I thought we would decide on a venue quickly, but actually scouting for venues, visiting them, assessing their suitability – it takes ages! And we were all still working full time to service our clients! Of course, once you’ve decided on the venue you then need to decide on the exact date, the running order, the advertising, the tickets… and actually, prepare slides and a presentation!
2. Planning an event is a team effort.
Senior Designer Charlotte was in charge of planning the event, but it soon became evident that if we didn’t want Jago design work to grind to a halt for a month while she organised it we would all need to pitch in and help her. Each team member played a vital role, calling up contacts and poking our heads into peoples offices asking if they would like to attend.
Each team member was tasked to create a talk, each contributing case studies and questions for the workshop attendees. We had Dovile fly in from Lithuania to talk at the event, even after she twisted her ankle the night before she presented a smashing talk. Jess and Charlotte braved the rainy weather grabbing supplies a
3. Event registration needs to be available early – but people may not book until the last minute!
By far the most terrifying thing about hosting a live event is the part where you actually publish your event on Eventbrite… and cross your fingers that people will actually come! We found that the earlier you can list your event, the more people will see it. People searching for events locally will see your event listed, and they may come back a couple more times before they actually decide to come. Many people will decide to come at the last minute, so unless you actually sell out, it’s hard to predict how many people you will actually be talking to.
4. When you organise an event, allow extra time for questions and networking.
If you’re giving a good quality presentation with plenty of knowledge and tips, expect people to have questions, and to want to discuss what you’ve just presented. Dovile says:
“we have planned out the event evening minute to minute, however, the presentation inspired our attendees and there were many different questions and discussions raised. I am really pleased that our audience was really engaged and wanted to know more, moreover, it’s exciting to see them taking notes or pictures when we talk. Next time I will definitely allocate more time for Q&A.”
5. The venue you choose for your event is key.
Before booking The Projects, Charlotte visited several venues across Brighton and chose The Projects as our venue. The Projects is a brilliant co-working space which offers an array of conference rooms as well as comfortable and relaxed space to socialise, we felt this was our best option as by having a space to host the event as well as space to casually socialise was key to how we wanted our event to flow. The venue is key when organising an event, not only because you want your guests to be comfortable but also because you will probably need a degree of flexibility with regard to timing. We were lucky in that we were able to access the room we had booked before our booking actually began – and crucially because when our event ran over we were able to stay longer and continue the discussion. The staff at The Projects were absolutely amazing to us during this event and did everything they could to help us along the way.
6. Hosting events is not about an immediate ROI.
If you are thinking about hosting an event as a big money spinner or a way to generate new business, think again. This is not what it’s about at all, and if you go into it with that mindset your event will lack the energy and atmosphere you need to make a great event. We all agreed we wanted to host an event as a way of serving the community and helping people to get the most from their brand – for us it was more about positioning Jago as a helpful company providing useful information. Our Business Leader Ryan says:
We are a people first organisation, not profit first. We wanted to provide value to our attendees, not to try and talk them into becoming our clients and I think that’s why our event was such a success with such a great atmosphere – there was no pressure there to sign up for anything, so people were able to let their guard down and enjoy the experience.
7. Once you’ve hosted your first event, you will want to book your second!
Hosting our first event was stressful and time-consuming. We were all incredibly nervous beforehand, and exhausted when it was finished – but we literally cannot wait to begin planning our next event! The buzz you feel when you have organised an event, had people turn up and actually provided them with valuable takeaways for their business is incredible. We all arrived at work the next day excited to plan our next event.
Our Social Media Intern Jess says: “I truly saw the value that was offered to the attendees in the workshop and cannot wait to share more knowledge through more events. We were all nervous to speak but as we spoke and saw the impact and thought that we brought about, we felt more and more comfortable. It was an amazing opportunity for both us and the attendees.”