5 Ways to Host an Amazing Event

The stakes are high when you get people out to an in-person event. Here are some tips on what works

Written by Robert Gold & Andrew Brown

In this week’s BusinessCast, we’re featuring guests we know well: ourselves. We recently held a book launch to celebrate our new book, Business Truths: 96 Proven Ways to Build Loyalty, Grow Profits and Succeed st Everything In Between. It was a great success, and taught us some good lessons about what it takes to hold an engaging, valuable, entertaining event.

At some point or another, most companies will have to host some type of event. Perhaps it’ll be a product launch, an employee or customer appreciation day, a conference or an educational session. These can be very good for business, but a lot of things can go wrong if you don’t put enough thought into these events. Here are five of our recommendations:

1. Think of a higher purpose

Before we did any detailed planning, we gave some thought about the purpose of the event. We decided early on that we didn’t want just to sell books; no one likes a hard sell at events (especially when they’ve come out to an event in the dead of winter). Instead, we made it our goal to create buzz around the book and its ideas. That shaped all our other decisions.

Read: The Art of Building Buzz

2. Pick an exciting venue

It’s easy to forget the importance that a venue can have. Hotel ballrooms or your office conference room aren’t necessarily bad choices. But they might not get you the “wow” factor that a space that’s a little different, distinctive or special might. We held our launch at La Parete Gallery, a small venue in Toronto, and it gave us exactly the vibe we were looking for.

3. Choose a format that fits

We decided to have the event follow the sequence of our book. Our opening speaker was Chris Carder, who presented the foreword of the book. Then we spoke about the book and its lessons. Then we did a faux-BusinessCast podcast with La Parete’s owner about the business of running a gallery. By roughly following the format of the book, we were able to tie disparate components together.

4. Consider the flow

Too often, events feel awkward or disjointed because no thought has been given into how things flow. We mapped out who we wanted to speak and when, then put a lot of thought about how they would transition into the next sequence, next speaker, the next guest.

Read: Lessons from our 2013 PROFIT 500 CEO Summit Event

5. Keep it tight

People are busy; we didn’t want to waste their valuable time with an agenda that went on and on. When you have people in a room, you have to incite them, excite them and entertain them. And that becomes very challenging if the event goes too long—especially if people don’t know each other. The tighter the agenda, the more fun people have. We kept ours to an hour and a half. People ended up staying longer, but not because they had to.

Listen on for more tips we learned from planning and hosting our book launch, including a dead-simple icebreaker to get strangers talking to one another. To download the full podcast, click on the iTunes logo below:

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com