Rule number one of event design

It’s about the attendee.

People go to events to meet people, to learn new things and to have a good time. The more events you attend, the more you realize just how rare those three things are. When you really think about what was going through the organizer’s mind, you wonder if they even considered those factors.

This rule seems so straightforward, but when you ask the question, what was the organizer optimizing this event for?

More often than not, the answer is: ease of planning.

Your typical event format is, bring in a speaker (pray they’re not boring) and then leave time for networking after. That’s an easy event to plan. It’s safe. Nothing out of the ordinary.

But we’ve all seen time and time again that events like that don’t teach us much and don’t allow us to walk away with valuable connections.

On the other hand, a focused meetup for WordPress fanatics that brings in members to run short workshops where people can follow along on their laptops. Then, the host breaks the room into small groups where the attendees can discuss best practices and share tips with each other.

That kind of event takes a little more trouble to plan. You have to know what topics will resonate with the audience. You have to convince attendees that it’s worth lugging their laptop to a meetup at 7:30 in the evening. You have to organize discussion groups. It takes a lot more planning than simply throwing people in a room hoping they “network.”

Overall, great events requires more thoughtful consideration of what it feels like to be an attendee. I think the extra planning is time well spent. The result is better conversations, stronger connections and more learning. Those things are the goal, after all.