The vast majority of events that our industry organises are for business people and so have a business focus and purpose. They are held in the week and successful people don’t give up their work time very easily. But just because they are business related, does that mean that they have to be serious?
I believe that events should always have a fun element. Many business events can be hard work – they demand focus, concentration, lots of smiling and talking. If they don’t have a fun or enjoyable element organisers would have a hard time attracting the audience to the event. But it is all about getting the balance right.
Too much fun and not enough business and they turn into ‘jollies’; gone are the days when we can simply go out network, enjoy ourselves and call it ‘doing business.’ Everyone’s time is very valuable and every event has to deliver an ROI. But done right, adding a fun element to a business event can make it far more successful; people relax, smile and are far more approachable too. I believe in the ‘work hard play hard’ ethic. Whilst the business side of the event is a must, long term relationships are often built around the post-business activities; the camaraderie of laughing together is a very powerful aid to building lasting relationships. Networking can be a hard slog for a lot of people. People are often tempted to stick with the people that they already know and talk with them all evening. But add a fun reason to mingle, to share or to move around different parts of the event and it becomes a lot easier. People are more attractive when they smile and we are naturally drawn to smiling faces.
So, get the business done first and then go have some fun. You never know, you may find that the fun part of the event creates a greater ROI than the business part.
Emma Cartmell, Chief Executive Officer, CHS Group