Visioning: What’s Your Dream?
What’s your dream? That can be challenging for event planners because we don’t think like that, right? We are so worried about achieving the goals set by leadership, such as event attendance, lead generation, or coming under budget. What if we had a vision for every event we did? Would that make a difference when you planned events?
I had my “aha” moment back in 2008. I planned an event in Chicago, IL, for about 3,500 people. It was two associations coming together who had similar interests. My goal as one of the association planners was to increase attendance and stay under budget. I was relatively new in the industry, having been an event planner for approximately two years. I worked in hotels, specifically banquets and convention services, and switched to events. I have a hospitality degree and an event and meeting management certificate, so I was qualified to be an association event planner. I hit all my goals but wasn’t happy when I left my meeting. Have you ever experienced something like that? Everything went well, but something still needed to be fixed. Walking around the hotel after everyone had left, I noticed all the trash. My show had a lot of breakouts and a tradeshow. What hit me, and honestly, it hurt with all the piles of waste left over. In the breakout rooms, papers, napkins, and water bottles had one sip taken out of them. Then, at the tradeshow, every booth left a pile of trash, and the exhibit team would also throw out the carpet. It was honestly so sad. After the event went so well, this isn’t how I should have felt. Needless to say, I started my company four months later. My vision for events was that they would be sustainable.
I had a vision that took me to a place I never expected. What do you hope for in your events? Is there a change you would like to see? How do you make your dream come true? It can take effort to figure out what your dream is. Let’s brainstorm! Write down everything you are passionate about, what projects or events you are currently involved with, and what activities or causes are important to you. I bet you are thinking, how will my passion for <fill in the blank> help me with events? I will stick with sustainability with my examples, which drive me and my passion. Let’s say you want to do something with cats and dogs. Would it be possible to have a puppy break between sessions? Those are the best when grownups sit on the floor with puppies and let the stress float away. What puppy or kitten doesn’t want their ear scratched? Perhaps instead of having a traditional breakout, your group goes to a local dog shelter and volunteers for the afternoon. If you don’t have time to go somewhere, perhaps you do a 50/50 raffle during a lunch break where half the money goes to a local animal shelter. Even a tiny step can make you feel fulfilled! Start small, and the ideas will get bigger!
Go big! Don’t discourage yourself with negative thinking. Believe in your dream and YOURSELF! See your dream! Great planners like us can close their eyes and envision the event. You see the registration table here. The risers and podium will be there. We will do uplighting around the screen. In all of those details, do you see your dream? Tell those around you what your dream is - never hesitate to share it! By sharing it, you allow those around you to buy into your dream and help you achieve it. Add your dream to your event planning documents. Plan on it right from the start. Perhaps it is enormous, so break it down into smaller bits that are easier to accomplish. Keep working on your dream. Remember your “why.” Your why will be the driving force behind everything you do! We can get buried with day-to-day activities, so don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing.
Do you have a passion and can’t figure out how to tie it back to your event? Let me know! Let’s do some brainstorming and dream big together.