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How Event Design Tactics Lead to ROI

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Smarter Event Design is How the Pros Make Every Event Activation Meet Benchmarks and Improve Results

What is your event designer doing for you? If you think it’s all about making your conference or booth or trade show or exhibit look pretty, you’re dead wrong. The aesthetics of the build are important, but if you’re not also making sure that the designs are helping you meet your client’s goals, the problem is bigger than the shade of chartreuse you should have gotten for your comfy divans.

Rosa Garriga Mora is the marketing and communications manager at myQaa, a mobile event app company that specializes in boosting attendee engagement and networking. Her background is in ROI measurement and meeting design, and she thinks good design is measurable and persuasive design. She writes a blog at https://rosagarriga.wordpress.com/ called The Conference Goer’s Blog, where she explores the issues and solutions key to solving the design for deliverables problem.

We spoke to her to find out if she could distill her knowledge into some tasty tidbits for us. She said that it’s important to ask the right questions when planning an event design. The first is: How does this event add value for you? “The way an event creates value for people is by influencing the behavior of potential customers and attendees,” Mora says. If you can design a space, a program, an exhibit hall that can convince them to do that you want, you’re on the right track.

Next, you have to know how to make behavior change and flow the way you want. “Behavior only changes with new information,” she says. “That’s where meeting design helps.” That new information can come in the form of a map or a presentation or an exhibitor, but the only way to change a mind is to give it new data. So make sure you’re putting the right content out there. Content that will serve your goals.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]Fun fact: The ideal group size for optimal interaction in a breakout session is 6. [/box]

If design can help make those changes in behavior, the natural question is: how? There are three ways to impress stakeholders with new information, Mora says: make the content accessible in as many ways as possible, bring the stakeholders together in real-time to learn together and from each other, and make workshopping efficient with directed, focused goals.

Finally, she says, follow these simple rules and you probably won’t get too far afield.

  1. Make sure all speakers and presenters are good communicators, which really should be a no-brainer, but I think we all know it’s not. Unfortunately.
  2. Always leave time for reflection. Mora advises having the same amount of free and directed reflection time as you do session time. Make sure it’s not wasted time by setting goals for each breakout group like they have to agree on a set of questions for the last speaker.

[tabs type=”horizontal”][tabs_head][tab_title]Q&A: Rosa Garriga Mora[/tab_title][/tabs_head][tab]ES: What is the relationship between physical space design and attendee behavior design? There isn’t much research on this, but Mora told us what she could from her experience and observations:

  1. The natural light of a space is helpful to encourage learning, so don’t meet in a dimly lit, creepy, sleepy theatre. Let in the light.
  2. The stage and presentation of the speakers is paramount. They should be elevated and given enough room to speak to everyone, on a simple stage. That makes content easy to understand and helps audience members follow the speaker’s movements.
  3. Tone counts. “I always feel that if you want people to do something, it’s very important to soften the tone,” Mora says. “The first 10 minutes are the key to setting the tone for the whole event.”[/tab][/tabs]

Are your designs tactically sound? How do you use your space and your content to drive results? Hit us in the comments.

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Ken Briodagh

Ken is a poet, pirate, father and fungi. He's been writing about events and the experiential industry for almost a decade now, and he's almost got his head around it. Almost. Please email him with feedback anytime. Or else, send him funny stuff about Marmaduke. He loves Marmaduke.