Have you ever considered the cost of an executive event? I’m not talking about the venue, food and management costs – though the latter of course are very reasonable! I’m talking about time: your time; your guests’ time; their companys’ time. If you consider the earning power per hour of your audience or calculate the company turnover per event, you very quickly realise why there’s no such thing as a free lunch. You certainly understand why executives demand value and a good return on the investment of their time.
Value, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Running any event is about understanding your objectives, your audience and your timescales (Blog post: “Secret Sauce – Essentials…”). The essence of successful executive events is meeting their objectives and their timescales and consistently delivering content your audience really values. When surveys indicate that many senior Executives attend only 5 or 6 events per year, it is worth the extra time and effort to make sure yours is one of them.
It’s a cliché but executive diaries really are booked up a long time in advance and executives really are difficult to get hold of. Use social media and work with communities such as Linked-In to broaden your reach and build engagement; ask the executives you already work with to introduce you to others. Planning your event with enough time to identify and contact the executives you really want to meet, builds trust; asking sales people to fill spaces at the last minute only burns up hard-won favours, no matter how exclusive the venue! If you don’t get the numbers you hoped for, it’s often better to talk to us – for example, we can turn a presentation and lunch for 10 guests into a “focused” round-table discussion for 5 plus hosts and make your guests feel really involved.
Given their day jobs, round-tables discussions are exactly the sort of events that appeal to busy executives. Most executives like to take an active part and expect to be heard; they want to educate themselves, but not necessarily in the deepest detail. Meeting and networking with peers is always valuable, whether in the same industry or other industries where they might face the same problems. In presentations, they look for information that can be turned into actions.
So they might attend your conference, but only for the specific agenda item that interests them and then leave – be prepared to maximise that contact. Make sure someone hosts them or consider running an “Executive Summary” session in parallel with the day. Perhaps a private lunch with your special guest speakers – after all, you’ve probably paid for their time! Breakfast briefings or lunches with industry peers are a short way to deliver a sharp message. Round-table discussions can be used to really dig into mutual business problems – and you can capture the output for very valuable executive collateral. Don’t forget to issue briefing notes so that your guests can get to know each other and the subject.
Chill Out! regularly receives great feedback and praise for delivering memorable executive events. But we know that the real success comes from your effort ahead of time to network and build your ideal audience. If you’ve established the value of your event before you start, then your invitation, whether delivered by email or in a good old fashioned envelope, actually gets opened. Even if it’s not accepted this time, you have a head start on your next, equally successful event.