An event should be a true experience – 90 Second Lesson with William Thomson

We sat down with William Thomson (Events Consultant at Gallus Events) to discuss ways to turn conferences and events into experiences as opposed to just simply events.

For more of William’s expertise you can check out his Gallus Events Blog.

You say events should be experiences. What do you mean by that?

I’ve been organizing conferences and exhibitions for quite a long time. I used to run a music company and I also used to promote some music venues. When I used to organize music events every week someone would come up and hug me and say ‘this is the best gig or the best club I’ve been to ever’. Now Ive been to a lot more conferences, no one has ever come up and given me a hug. I think the level of expectation that we set for a business event is so low. And the reason that is is because we look at it as an event and we look at it logistically and we don’t look at it as an experience.

Very few events are memorable apart from the occasional one which is really bad. But I’d like for organizers to think about what’s the unique, what’s the definable thing when someone leaves their event and they go back to their office and they say to someone ‘you’ve got to go to that event next year because of x, y or z’. And if you can just simply get that one thing in your event, and it shouldn’t be a speaker, it should be a part of the experience, where that person goes back to their office and says ‘you won’t believe what happened at this event’ or ‘I got such a huge amount of information from that event’ or ‘I met the most fantastic people at that event’, but really think about what’s the one thing to make that experience.

It’s all about involving all the senses, involving people and not just speaking to them. We really need to look at that from the point of view of the experience and the enjoyment and not a logistical approach to the event. And that turns it from an event into an experience. That’s how people remember when you create an experience.