You may have heard about the crowdsourcing trend sweeping through business events during the past year or two. Now that it’s getting more mainstream and technological support, crowdsourcing event planning is a lot easier – essentially, you can ask your attendees what they want, usually through social media, event apps, or online surveys. Of course, you shouldn’t let attendees decide everything, but this type of crowdsourcing does have its place. Here’s where it can be most effective.
Special Interest Topics or Presentations
Let’s be clear: You shouldn’t let attendees pick main topics or the subject of important presentations. They are not equipped to make those kinds of decisions. But many business events branch off into labs, workshops, smaller meetings, team learning, and other types of sessions. These are areas where attendees can and probably should get a vote about. Additionally, asking about specific interests and topics can reveal trends and worries among attendees that you may not have been aware of previously.
Time and Length
Time and length aren’t always negotiable – if it takes a full evening to go over the new training schedule, it takes a full evening – but for longer or more elaborate events, it’s all right to poll your attendees about what time they would like the event to start and end. You can also ask questions about how long the ideal event would be, how many breaks they prefer, and other questions that will help you out when scheduling activities.
Apps and Platforms
Start early by asking attendees what apps and platforms they prefer to use for the event. This is a particularly important method of crowdsourcing because one of your goals should be to reach as many attendees and related employees as possible. You can do that by using apps that they know and like. However, don’t take this too far: It’s very easy for everyone to say “Just use Facebook” but as an event expert, you may know that a new, easy app is the perfect solution. Don’t be afraid to veto the crowd’s preferences when necessary – or push them into trying out new things. That’s part of the point!
When your event breaks up for smaller team activities, what should those activities be? If you aren’t sure, ask the attendees! They’ve probably done a lot of these activities before, and have opinions about which are the most effective. There’s very little downside to choosing an activity that the majority of people will like.
What They Don’t Like
Ultimately, one of the most useful things to crowdsource is your mistakes. In other words, ask people what they really don’t want to see at an event. Ask them what they think the biggest waste of time is, or what the most productive part of the event is. Ask what they would skip if they could. You’ll learn a lot about the audience and it will help your planning decisions in the future.
For information on letting attendees make the right decisions and planning exciting, high-tech events to draw in the right audience, head on over to Fourth Wall Events.