After months of planning, the show has finally come to a close and you would like nothing better than to squeeze in some much-needed relaxation. Unfortunately, that cabana and margarita (a person can dream, right?) are going to have to wait; alas, it’s time to host a post-event meeting.
While you might prefer to do a thousand other things on your to-do list besides hashing out what happened during the event, it’s a crucial step that will benefit future shows. Miss it and you will be losing out on some of the most valuable insights you could ever gain in your business.
Laying It All Out
Don’t be tempted by procrastination. Schedule the meeting within two weeks of the event so that it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind. If it’s scheduled too far out, important details could fade from memory. The meeting can take place in person, or via conference call depending on location and convenience. During the meeting, don’t be afraid to encourage raw honesty. The good, the bad, and even the critical. Everything needs to be laid out on the table. To make sure the meeting doesn’t hit a snag, I’ve come up with four areas I refer to as the 4 E’s to help you stay on track. The four E’s are:
Everyone’s work should be evaluated, including the Show Manager. No one gets a performance pass. Much can be gained from the perspective of a fellow worker, so try not to take any criticism personally. To give you an idea of some useful evaluations from the perspective of a service contractor, I’ve listed some below:
- Any structures that didn’t work as expected or weren’t adequate. For example, a structure is unable to accommodate graphics due to being a load bearing construction. Even though the line drawings were correct, unexpected on-site adjustments needed to be made. Evaluating what could have been done differently can help ensure that next time it won’t be an issue.
- Exhibitor issues, such as outstanding invoices that need resolution.
- Logistical issues with the building, grounds, facilities, and security. These issues could include doors that didn’t function properly to gaps in security. When you know what logistical problems there were during your show, you know what people you need to contact to prevent future issues in those areas.
- The damage that occurred from the show. An example of this would be damage to a portion of the ballroom carpet because it was snagged by a moving pallet.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. It’s a part of life. But instead of throwing up our hands in defeat, it’s important to figure out why they didn’t go as expected and what can be done in the future to correct those execution mistakes.
Were the instructions too confusing? Was time a factor? Were the incorrect materials ordered? It’s important to hammer out what could have been done better (or what might need to be scrapped altogether and reconfigured) so that your show can be better.
Exchange of Ideas
The open discussion of new and tried and true ideas are the backbone of any good business. Foster the exchange of thought and encourage your crew to come up with ways to improve future shows for your attendees. Guest feedback can also be used as a starting point to build from. Some of the best ideas come from learning from attendees experiences, good or bad.
Change is a hard but necessary aspect of the business. If you don’t adapt to an evolving world, it will leave you behind. This doesn’t mean that you need to leave all traces of comfort and familiarity behind; it just means that you should be open to progress. You don’t want to alienate your current audience, but what can be done to attract new attendees to your show? How can you show others that you are dedicated to making their experience the best one possible?
Comprehensive post-event meetings are incredibly valuable for yielding positive results for future shows. This simple approach to the discussion will help you set goals and objectives. It’s well worth the time invested and once it’s over you can breathe a sigh of relief and move on.
That relaxing break is starting to become a reality. And very well deserved one at that.