5 Keys to Event Success: Goal Setting

The well-known adage, “A goal without a plan is just a dream,” is remarkably true.

That’s why setting defined goals for your event and developing a plan for how you’ll achieve them is a plan for event success.

By creating a goal roadmap, your event can reach its full potential and your organization will benefit greatly from its success.

When setting goals, it’s important to keep these 3 things in mind:

  • Start well in advance. If you don’t have enough time to plan and achieve your goals, you’ll already put your event’s success in jeopardy.

  • Create a realistic timeline for reaching those goals and milestones. How long will it take to find a venue? Create a marketing plan? Recruit speakers? Reach 50% of your attendee goal? Once you have a timeline for these goals, do everything possible not to miss a deadline that will throw you off track.

  • Set goals you know you can achieve. Small goals that will add up to a successful end result means you can reach smaller milestones along the way to your larger, primary goal.

Now you’re ready to set some goals!

5 Keys to Setting Successful Event Goals:

  1. Start with determining your primary objectives for your event. Educate? Entertain? Build a customer or member base? Promote services or solutions? Grow revenue? Generate awareness?

  2. Then decide what type of event, and what size event, is most appropriate to achieving those objectives. Consider how you want your attendees to interact.  In an exhibit hall, during sessions or at a networking reception? A small breakfast event or large, multi-day conference? A roundtable or half-day meeting?

  3. Next, establish what type of venue you might need to facilitate your event. Convention space or hotel conference rooms?  A unique venue like a theater or museum?

  4. Does time of day or time of year affect the primary event objectives? Consider holidays, company events or milestones, and school year calendars.

  5. Now focus on some key metrics to help you measure if you’ve achieved your event objectives. For trade shows, it could be how happy exhibitors were with the number of leads to their booth. Other measurements could be the satisfaction score from attendees rating their experience, the number of sponsors who signed up for next year’s event, the number of returning attendees (or new ones), or positive speaker evaluations. 

Deciding on specific goals prior to your event will help you judge your event’s success as well as help you prioritize efforts. Make sure to share your goals with team members and stakeholders so everyone knows what they’re working towards and how to prioritize activities.  After your event, take some time to review your results to understand what worked – and what didn’t.  Take this feedback and apply it to your next event.  You’ll have a better idea of what you can achieve and do even better in the future.

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