The real goal of events is to transform people.
Whether you’re planning a conference packed with valuable knowledge sessions, trade show, or B2B networking event, you’ll want to get your attendees to think, feel, and behave differently.
Transformation lies at the core of the event experience.
Your event’s success is defined by how much it transformed your attendees.
So what do we mean by transformation, and what are the characteristics of this concept?
First, transformation defines the process your guests will go through from the minute they register right up to the end of the event and their lasting impressions or takeaways.
Second, each event has specific goals.
You, along with many other planners, usually know what you want to get from your attendees.
Maybe you want them to create a community around your company, or promote your brand, or perhaps buy from you …
The list is endless.
If you handle the transformative process correctly, you’ll achieve your goals.
Finally, considering that events consist out of extraordinary experiences that aim to take attendees out of their daily routine and plant them into a totally different environment, transformation is the emotional charge your guests will be exposed to and their reaction to that charge.
Now that we’ve defined and understood what transformation is in the context of event conceptualization and planning, let’s see what exactly should you do to design a stellar transformative experience for your attendees.
Here’s a list of tips that will help you:
Tip 1. Provide the necessary environment for self-actualization
According to a Skift Report, “transformation speaks directly to self-actualization.”
Designing your event as a powerful framework for self-development, understanding, and learning will help your attendees experience a sense of fulfillment through creative engagement (known as self-actualization).
A classic example of a self-actualizing event is Burning Man, an annual gathering of people based on self-reliance and self-expression. During the festival, people engage in activities such as art performance, theme camps, and villages, displaying unique fashion, attending concerts, etc. These activities help people realize their full potential and reach a gratifying state of mind. Moreover, they tend to achieve a higher level of creativity mixed with an efficient problem-solving mindset.
Your attendees will never be the same once they leave your event because they’ve experienced self-actualization.
Tip 2. Encourage people to participate in co-creative activities
As Krüger declared for the IBTM press,
“Today, meetings are often about telling or selling knowledge and readymade solutions to the audience. In the future, they will be more about participants’ creating knowledge and solutions. We have to draw on participants’ knowledge and creativity; we cannot rely on experts and CEOs to have all the answers.”
He also noted,
“Co-creation creates better solutions and participants take more ownership of decisions they have helped create.”
Just as customers have changed from passive subjects of marketing and product studies to market participants, your attendees want to be active in co-creating their experiences.
Tip 3. Provide the right environment for meaningful interactions
Instead of throwing business cards at people left and right while engaging in generic small talk, attendees want relevant interactions that get straight to the point.
When your guests can engage in fruitful one-on-one conversations, they can influence each other through knowledge transfer or new business opportunities that might change their lives forever.
Tip 4. Apply storytelling techniques to your event
To make your event truly transformative, it’s crucial to consider the emotions and feelings your attendees will experience.
Also, it’s important to create a certain level of familiarity so the audience can relate to the event.
To make this happen, think about wrapping the event narrative into a story.
This involves a story “hero,” which can be your company or brand, and an enemy, which can describe the challenges one might experience on his or her way to success.
Finally, you’ll have to provide the lessons (messages) you want to transmit and the story takeaways.
If you have all these elements in place, you can easily design a compelling story for your attendees and help them have a transformative experience, along with the “hero” whose journey leads to success.
Transforming your attendees is an ongoing process that starts with the event conceptualization.
Knowing what you want to accomplish and how you want to change your guests will help you design the right transformative experiences.
However, don’t forget that an impactful transformation happens only when you provide enough space for self-actualization, engage people in co-creative activities and significant interactions, and wrap the entire experience into a story that will resonate with your guests.