I think as an event person you are in a powerful position. More so than many other jobs.
Influence “is the power to have an effect on people or things – or a person or thing that is able to do this”.
We know events influence people, they change what we think, what we feel and what we do.
Any decent event will allow people to do something they wouldn’t normally do, to feel emotions and share experiences with people that they can’t achieve in everyday life. These ‘influential events’ as I call them, are the experiences we offer that make people think and feel differently about things. They influence us to do things, and, they influence what we do afterwards.
You can (and should) influence people
It is events that motivate us to play or watch a sport for the first time, and they inspire us to play and watch it again. Experiencing any sport, entertainment or educational event should influence us. What we think, and even what we believe. And a trade or brand activation should also engage with us so much that we buy something (we may not have known we needed!).
You can influence at scale
Events are influencing people across the world this week. Where I am in Australia, there were hundreds of professional sports events, and a thousand times more participation sports events. Art, activations, entertainment and educational events everywhere. Conferences and concerts, festivals and fundraisers.
Imagine the influence they have all had.
You have the power.
“With any powerful tool, the impact comes with the craftsman, not the tool”
– Seth Godin
Events are influential, but events are just the tool, and you are the craftsman/women.
So I hope you are asking yourself, what can I do with this influence?
Why event design is powerful
To be the craftsman, you need to be a designer as well as a do-er. To be an influencer you need to be an architect as well as the builder. And events aren’t just a thing to build, they are real-life experiences.
They involve people, doing things and feeling things. With interactions and emotions, creating moments and experiences. So if you want to influence, to get people to be aware of something, to sign up, show up, share it and show up again, you need a real-life storyboard, a playbook of what your event will look like, and the impact it will have. And not just an ‘event plan’.
An Event Plan will give you the tasks to execute, but an event design process will allow you to discuss and decide the influence you want and can have.
So my suggestion is, when your starting out, think about the influence you want to have. Think about the influence you can have.
Create the vision, and design a plan, with some strategies that will set you up to have the influence. And keep checking whether your having the impact you want to have as you go. To keep you on track towards the influence your seeking to have.
Use the Force!
Unfortunately we often see the purpose of an event is lost. The effect on your audience is not meaningful, or the event does not contribute to the aims of your organisation. I believe events offer too much potential, are too much effort to be wasted on lost opportunities.
So harnessing the power you have is important.
Just imagine what else you can influence.
If you need some help with that, just let me know.