Attendees are important. Our guests should be on our minds during the whole event planning process. Every decision we make should be well thought out in terms of our participants. We strive to delight and exceed expectations in every way possible and without attendees we would be out of a job!
Often by the time the event day arrives, our attendees can feel like family. And like every family, they include a mix of different characters and behaviors. Here are some of the most common characters to be found at every event.
1.The Hyperactive One
Equipped with 10 different gadgets, the Hyperactive One is ultra-organized and has all his documents ready when checking-in at your event. He has studied your event programme and floor plan beforehand and knows exactly where to go. Always 10 minutes in advance, he sits on the front row with his notepad or tablet, drinking in every word. Sometimes an introvert, he will respectfully listen to the Q&A session before seizing the first opportunity to speak face-to-face to the speaker afterwards. He is trying to drink in as much as possible and will tour the exhibition hall three times to make sure he hasn't missed anything. Expect to see him around from the opening of your event right through until the event close.
2. The Casual One
She grabs a coffee and patiently waits for the registration lines to fade out while reviewing her schedule for the day. She will stroll around the event between her meetings and go in and out of session rooms, like a butterfly, to get a taste of what is going on. Friendly but firm, she knows a lot of people at the event but remains aloof. You will never see her rushing around, she is poised, calm and collected at all times. How we love the Casual One; although we never know exactly what she is thinking, nothing is ever a big deal and she is always happy!
3. The Wannabe
You will immediately identify the wannabes at your event, even before it starts. Active on social media, engaging with every one of your posts and participating in virtual conversations, wannabes are trying hard to be somebodies, even if it means skipping a few steps. At the event they are confident and keen to network. Expect them to ask you how to find the VIPs, and to hog the mic at every occasion to get noticed.
4. The Indifferent One
For many event planners this is the most infuriating type of delegate. Some attendees will come to your event just to avoid being elsewhere; your event is simply a great excuse to be out of the office. For them, events are time-off from their daily responsibilities but they generally show no interest in the event itself. They will hover around the buffet and networking cocktails.. by themselves. Don't even try to bother them, they simply aren't interested. Their goal is to spend as much time as possible within your venue to justify avoiding their workload, so expect them to take over your charging stations and seating areas.
Whatever you do to try to encourage your attendees to stay until the event close is wasted on the Indifferent One. Accept that they will disappear at 2pm, feeling they have done their duty and can take the rest of the afternoon out, without their boss ever finding out.
5. The Demanding One
Whether he actually cares about your event or not, the Demanding One is the one you should have in mind when planning your event. He will be the one making you do the impossible, probably at the worst time. Impatient, disapproving, irritable, he can always find a little niggle to complain about. But completing his requests with a smile on your face will make you feel like a superhero and improve the event experience for everyone. After all "the customer is always right" and you should always go that extra mile for your attendees!
6. The Friendly One
Ah, the Friendly One. We look forward to the next event just to see him. Appreciative of all your hard work, the Friendly One calls you by your first name, is an ambassador for your event and you look forward to a quick catch up with him over the registration desk or at some point during the craziness of the event.
7. The Veteran
By definition, veterans have seen it all. Even if they are not 90 years old, these experts are a familiar face at all industry events and seem to know everyone. They live for conferences and don't have expectations anymore as they have seen it all. Event Veterans are a great challenge for event planners and trying to surprise and delight them should be your motivation. Go beyond your usual limits and create the best experience for them to remember.
8. The Pressured One
Just seeing her stresses you out. Arriving at your event looking exhausted, taking urgent phone calls and losing her belongings everywhere she goes, the pressured one is a walking disaster as she tries to do ten tasks at once. She is running on a tight schedule, sometimes having meetings overlapping one another, and juggling emails from the office at the same time. Understandably she can't seem to keep her calm. Although she knows she would get a lot from your event her other pressures make her regret ever leaving her desk as the workload piles up. Expect her to rely on you a lot and snap at you at every occasion.
9. The Curious One
I know you can picture him. He is the nosy type. Not necessarily spy-like or mean, but just curious by nature. Enquiring about every detail from menus and transportation, to post-event activities and next events, the Curious One needs to have the complete picture before he can move forward. You will either be touched, or completely frazzled by his continuous enquiries, perhaps a little frustrated that he prefers to ask you rather than read the information you provided for him on the event app and in the show guide. Don't become too friendly or he might just be chasing you around the venue the entire time.
10. The Famous One
There always is a Famous One. Whether she is a speaker or not, she is a person known to be an influencer, and very respected in her field. You are glad to have her at the event, although they seem to fall into two categories. You welcome the down to earth type that everyone wants to be around and marvel at how she has made it big whilst being such a lovely person. The second type comes with a massive ego and needs handling delicately. They expect at least a little pandering and special treatment. Identify who the Famous Ones are before your event and treat them with the attention they deserve.
What makes the perfect event attendee? None of the above; or rather all of them. An event simply wouldn't be complete if one of these types was missing, even if they can sometimes drive us crazy!
Your attendees represent your source of motivation to push boundaries and challenge yourself to create events that get better year after year. Without attendees you would not be able to do this job you love so much.
Thank you, attendees, for being always on our mind, and forcing us to give our best!