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Why event managers should be tech savvy

Last updated May 26th, 2014

By Miriam Blakemore
Event management can be a seriously stressful business, which is why learning about any new technology that makes your job just that little bit easier is essential. There are new devices, apps and websites which are being developed and improved upon all the time that you can use. If you want to be a great event manager, you need to be ready to use new technologies effectively.
These have many uses, not only for things like advertising or coordinating with staff, but also for your own preparation and planning. Just as importantly, they can be a great way to keep in touch with your audience during an event.
Here are top reasons technology is an event manager’s best friend:
Everyone’s doing it. More and more people are becoming dependent on connected devices which allow them to organise and simplify their lives. So you need to be ready to cater to these users, who have constant access to social networks and are used to fast-loading and user-friendly mobile websites. If you haven’t already, make your site uses responsive design or has a custom-built mobile version.
Events need people. So get your social media profiles in shape. According to The Guardian’s article “Facebook: Ten Years On”, the number of users for the site has risen from 58 million in 2007, to 1230 million in 2013. Social media sites provide a low-budget means of reaching a far bigger audience than would have been possible thirty years ago, for an equivalent cost.
Constantly drum up enthusiasm among your audience. On social media, use funny anecdotes or relevant pictures/videos to maintain interest, and give participants the chance to tell you what they would like to see on the day. Mobile devices are your friend here, letting you send out timely updates from almost any location, whenever you want. Get your messaging right and people will quickly be telling their friends and fans all about your event.
Give your numbers a boost. Make sure to send out last minute notifications, which might help to persuade people who are undecided about whether to attend. It’s often worth holding back some key information; say, for a music event, you could release band names slowly as the countdown approaches to create more hype for your promotion. This way, you will not only control the buildup to your event more efficiently, you can see the reaction your event is getting and change your strategy based on this.
Time is a constant pressure when you’re working on a project. Using technology for events can make everything more efficient and easier to control. Excellent communication is vital throughout the process – otherwise, when issues arise it can be hard work to get things back in place and running smoothly. Unreliable equipment, poor phone signal or human error in communicating on different channels might mean messages aren’t received by the right people. A tannoy announcement could be missed if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, for example. It’s always worth investigating other ways you can keep your team in contact with each other. Why not connect everyone that you need to communicate with on a private Wi-Fi network? Or have connected display boards in each area of the site with looping messages for people to check at any time? If, for example, you were using a bronze /silver /gold command structure for your event, then it would be essential that if an issue did arise, the applicable information should go through to the people who need it straight away.
What are other people doing? It’s always worth checking out what’s available and what’s working well at the moment for other people/companies, so you can make an informed decision about how to run your event effectively. If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try something new. Technology should be constantly developing and improving, and providing better and better ways to complete the tasks ahead of you. There is plenty of information on the internet about new and upcoming technology. Check out the Events Technology Awards webpage, but it might also be worth attending a TEDx type conference too, to stay informed about the latest innovations that could be useful for your events. It’s best to keep an open mind with regard to technology, as it is a rapidly shifting domain.
People like to get involved and feel that they have a personal stake in something. If you can provide them with a means of interaction and participation, they will be much more likely to recommend it to others. It’s possible to give more people the opportunity to get involved in a Q&A session with a key speaker on Twitter, for example. People can post questions using a hashtag, that can then be asked in turn to the subject. The advantage of this would be pre-knowledge of what the question is going to be, which can limit potential damage caused by inappropriate or unsuitable behaviour. The overall experience for everyone taking part is better, because the standard of questions and answers is higher, so everyone gets more enjoyment from it.
There are some events companies which are using audience participation as the basis for their promotions, such as Secret Cinema. For the evening, the audience is asked to prepare appropriate clothing and take part in certain relevant scenarios, which they can do limited research for, all done through email before the event takes place. The theme each time is set around a film, and the participants will, in effect, live out the film before they watch it at the end of the evening.
Once you start thinking about the potential that technology can give you, you can improve the event experience for both your team and your audience. In event management, technology is ab essential tool: for preparation, communication, management, and generally enhancing the overall look, feel and sound of your event.

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