I'm finally rested up from the COSE Small Business Convention! (For those of you who don't know, the convention is an event for small businesses professionals at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio). It was my second time at the Small Business Convention, but this year I gave my first presentation. After I finished, I got to kick back, relax and enjoy another great event! COSE knows exactly what they're doing, so everyone should take notes.
Here's how to plan an awesome conference, COSE-style:
Always Have a Few Activities Going on Simultaneously
Today, we’re all multitasking experts. Schedule multiple events at the same time. Compliment the main events by adding other smaller activities so everyone stays engaged.
Food, Glorious Food
What’s the best way to keep an audience happy during an event? Feed ‘em. The rest of our lives revolve around food, so it had better make an appearance at your event.
Keep It Digital
Surround your attendees with screens: TV screens, computer screens, projector screens. Create a dynamic and relevant hashtag for the event. Hype it up beforehand so all the attendees can create a shared excitement. Go the extra mile and have social media live stream. This gives your attendees a taste of stardom. When they see their tweet on the big screen, their picture glowing among the bright lights, their 140 characters live, you’ve assisted in creating a dream come true. They're now a convention celebrity! And they’ll be one happy camper.
Don’t Be Dry
Include some “fun” activities throughout the event. Who doesn’t love ABC's "Shark Tank?" Who doesn’t love a rockin' 80’s cover band? That’s right. No one! Think about your attendees. Consider what they would do in their (infrequent) free time. COSE recognized they have a crowd of entrepreneurs who support start ups. They also acknowledged that creativity and risk-taking are consistent qualities in most entrepreneurs so of course, they arranged for a crazy, engaging band to “jam out.” What a great stress reliever!
So, in summary, don’t host a drab, simplistic event. Make it an experience for the attendee. Tap into their senses. Get your attendees involved. Make them feel a celebrity or a rock star. COSE hit the ball out of the park this year and I can’t wait to head back for Round 3!