The Most Important Decision to Make Before You Plan Your Event: Interview with Shana Davison of Aspire Event Management
Orchestrating an event—including anything from a small gathering to a major catered affair—is similar to writing a novel. You, the organizer, are crafting a story that unfolds with a clear beginning, middle and end…plus some glue in between to help your chapters sing.
If you want your event to be a success, there is one decision you must make first before you proceed to craft your event story: know your “who.” I say this with ABSOLUTE confidence because I have a trail of event failure in my past to prove this single point out. What, exactly, does this entail? We discuss this and several other pivotal factors to address for an event on this week’s episode of #thedeliciousstory with Shana Davison, Certified Management Planner of Aspire Event Management.
Because this is a podcast where I visit with “interesting people sharing memorable meals,” we also share Shana’s favorite meal story, perfectly reflecting her attention to detail.
THE AUDIENCE IS EVERYTHING…PRETTY MUCH
It was like an anvil hit me with this revelation, but as Shana explained, the importance of paying attention to details like transition music and dinner choices, it occurred to me that the true reason for any event is to celebrate and recognize community. It makes sense, then, that everything choreographed for an event should be designed for the specific attendees.
It’s so obvious it’s almost silly, but knowing who you serve or are speaking to is critical as a business person, and yet this point can be so easily overlooked. So, an event (which is quintessentially about your community, whether it’s a wedding dinner, a corporate board meeting, or an association convention) should always focus on attendee experience. This is a major point where I’ve fallen short in planning my bite-sized events in the past.
Naturally, Shana knows quite a bit about this attendee focus. She explains that her array of services includes helping with the strategic planning before the event to address the “who” question and others to steer the event in the right direction.
KEEP CALM AND PLAN ON
When a small event (like those I’ve tried to plan) goes bust, it’s a blow to my ego and to my small business bottom line. This is relatable and unfortunate for any organization, especially those preparing for any larger-scale event.
Events are a huge undertaking involving major investments of money and time. If you truly want to get the strategy right, then having a pro with resources and knowhow like Shana to support you is to your advantage.
Shana explains that, in addition to the depth of services she delivers as a planner, her primary role is to provide confidence to the team who is on the line for the event’s outcome. In other words, for the person in charge of the annual gala, Shana offers calm assurance that everything can be done right.
The other point Shana makes is that hiring a planner is prudent for the event budget as well. She knows how to negotiate with the vendors for the most affordable solutions, and where to spend “just right” to get the biggest bang for your attendee experience.
A PLAN WELL PLAYED
Shana explained that some of her clients benefit from an event debriefing, or a review after the event to prepare for a repeat of the same or similar events in the future. Just the thought of debriefing caught me up into ideas of how the process could apply in life in general, but I stayed on task with Shana for this interview.
Shana relates a delightful memorable meal memory, too, that will resonate with those who love Disney World and is spot-on with the same theme for her go-to comfort food, also. It was one of her reasons for her fond memory of the meal—and her comfort food of choice—that, together, say a lot about her interest in attention to details and the event attendee experience. See if you don’t agree as you listen to her share her story and thoughts.
Shana provides tips and ideas sure to spark your creativity if you’re thinking about an event now or in the future. As a business or organization, there is so much effort in creating a brand to honor the mission and vision, and all of it is for the purpose of relating to a special audience. Organization events can be the manifestation of all your hard work.
The event is meant to be an extension of your communication—and your connection to it. Knowing who your audience is first applies to all facets of business branding, and is the critical first step in planning to successfully bring your audience together in one place to share something special.
For more information about Shana Davison and Aspire Event Management Services you can go here.
If you endeavor to keep calm in all things, check out these keep calm magnets.
Sherry is the founder of Storied Gifts a personal publishing service of family and company histories. She and her team help clients curate and craft their stories into books. When not writing or interviewing, Sherry spends loads of time with her grandchildren and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
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