Saturday, July 2, 2016

How to Guarantee Gate-Shut-Panic

It is a hopeless endeavor to attract people to a theatre unless they can be first brought to believe that they will never get in.
—Charles Dickens

"Of all the thousands of events that exist, only 5% represent those that I’d consider as ‘must-attend,’" says event designer Warwick Davies.

"These are the events where your absence will be noted, whether you are an attendee, speaker, sponsor or exhibitor. They are the kinds of events that prompt a ‘fear of missing out'—FOMO—the fear that it will somehow cost you in some way if you aren’t there."

Germans have a word for FOMO, Torschlusspanik, "gate-shut-panic."

The word dates to the Middle Ages, when peasants had to scamper from the fields at dusk, to guarantee they got home before the city gates were shut. The ones who dawdled could be eaten by wolves, beaten by robbers, or killed by the cold.

You can't loose wolves or release the Kraken on resistant attendees. But you can instill FOMO by offering a must-attend event.

Davies says these six actions guarantee it:

Make sure influencers show up. Buzz about your event only occurs when "influentials, connectors and mavens" attend, Davies says. Be sure to find ways for them to see value in attending.

Make sure you connect with influencers. Connect with 10 influencers, and you can't help but spark FOMO. "It will help not only your event, but also your own personal industry profile, and potentially your career."

Make sure you know the next big thing. You can't be clueless and run an irresistible event. Become a trend-spotter and build the next big thing into your event.

Make sure to connect with your Top 10 sponsors.  To create FOMO, you need tight connections with all the decision-makers at your leading funders.

Make sure to offer 10 networking activities. "Have 10 really dynamic and interactive things on the schedule that allow the movers and shakers, as well as their followers, to get together." Activities can include receptions, community projects, roundtable sessions and morning runs.

Make sure to market your event as a "must-attend." But don't just claim it. Prove it. Publish an agenda that shows you're leading your industry.

HAT TIP: James McCabe inspired this post.
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