Organize a large event, do like the NASA
I´m already at the directors box looking at the stage. In a moment the other drummers are called by the director and silently they walk upfront. Some of the guests (new bank employees) look curious to them but their attention is drawn towards the presenter and the huge television screens where they gaze at the new company slogans and video´s meant to inspire them.
Hidden in the shadows, we wait at the control room. Dozens of little lights blink, nictitate at the guys who stare concentrated on their monitor screens where colored bars give them visual information about the sound. We see images of the three professional video camera’s next and in front of the stage. The director speaks softly in his headset and there is an unceasing movement of switches that go up and forth while the directors gives his orders. Supreme concentration here in this NASA-like space. No nasty surprises here; all is well thought through.
Better safe than sorry?
I´ve to admit, comparing the organization of a congress to a journey in space is a bit farfetched. Yet there are similarities in the approach of such an event and a major business event. Organizers who don’t know our services sometimes find it difficult to schedule a session with Drum Cafe because they think it might not fit, mostly because they think it is too much trouble for so many people. And if something goes wrong they are accountable, aren´t they? But is it really necessary to be so reluctant and play on safe? The real question perhaps would be: how to ensure that you do not have to say sorry unless you mean sorry, I had much rather have teamed up earlier with Drum Cafe :-).
Large event – big challenge
Drum Cafe knows that it is very challenging if someone has to organize a convention or another large event. So many things should be considered, so many detail covered. Most participants don´t realize that. They take for granted that there is a suitable location, enough healthy food and beverage, good accommodations to talk, tickets for return trips and last but not least the speakers: all should be well thought off. No wonder that being an event manager is considered of the most stressful jobs in this world.
And even though there are passionate speakers and interesting workshops, the moment comes when attention decreases; it´s only natural. Then you should see that the audience gets new energy. This works best when placing people in an unusual setting where their rational thinking minds can get some rest, often accomplished with a so called ‘energizer´
The event manager has the responsibility to ensure that the entertainment is consistent with the target audience. Entertainment should not be banal, sexist or vulgar. Everyone should appreciate the entertainment and no one should feel offended during a business environment.
For instance: it can be seen as an insult to point a finger at somebody.
As Drum Cafe we are aware of such social behavior, especially in an international audience.
As Drum Cafe we provide interactive icebreakers, energizers and teambuilding sessions with drums, Boomwhackers or we accompany body beats to accomplish team building. We support management training and get people out of their comfort zone.
Because of the relevancy of our session it is very important that we talk beforehand what the target group is and what results are expected of the event and how our performance can contribute to that. We are fully aware of the impact of an event within the strategy, corporate culture, it´s broader context and specific business goals. So we just know what we are doing and you can trust on us making a particular choice.
Check, check, double-check
I was recently at a meeting with a motley crowd to share best practices in our line of business.
I enjoy such meetings because everyone has a chance to get new ideas, get inspired and learn how to improve our work. One thing particularly stuck me because I could not (nor can) get my head around it. An event planner said that she never makes a script. ‘Everything is in my head,’ was her response to my questions. What questions I asked to clarify for myself how she or her team would handle if she was sick or the car would not start? You name it. No, for her it was simple, her colleagues knew what was in inside her head because they worked so long together. It´s an understatement to say that most attendees responded at the least very surprised.
Boy oh boy, where would I be without planning, to-do lists and scripts. Sometimes my head is a sieve and the more I want or need to remember, the less it stays. At least so it seems. Even for birthday party´s which I organized for my sons, I made a some kind of planning and list with steps and activities. Call it professional deformation, call me a control freak, call it whatever you want.
It gave myself and other stakeholders (my wife) rest and it became a lot easier to improvise if something else happened than anticipated.
So do like NASA as they are planning a space trip. Anticipate and check as many as you can on beforehand, stick to the roadmap and be confident that the improvisational skills of you, your team, and carefully selected professional partners will get the job done.
Everything runs smooth for the benefit of the audience, our clients.
So Houston: no problems out here, everything´s just fine. This was Drum Cafe: over and out.
Have a nice day.
CEO Drum Cafe