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Opinion: 5 reasons to do an event

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Events take a lot of effort to produce. Moving from concept to execution is a challenge, and it includes everything from advertising to ticket sales and speaker logistics to backstage direction. You have to think about an emcee, coordinating flights and hotels, getting permission sign-offs to video tape your keynote and making sure everyone is fed.

It’s exhausting, even with a team in place to keep track of it all.

So, why do an event? Why take the time away from your “regular work” to put something together or – for that matter – to buy a ticket and attend? We just completed co-producing Beyond Data, along with Springfield Business Journal. It was a good reminder of why we get involved in these things that sometimes feel a little out of scope. Trust me, they aren’t, and here’s why.

1. It forces you to look at how to present your business. How do you explain it to others? What is your elevator speech to the uninitiated? Does it make sense?

2. It lets you examine and test partnerships. Where are your gaps, and is there a complementary company that can fill them? How well do you work together?

3. It introduces you to other companies. Not all of them are potential clients, but they all have something to share. Events enable a give and take conversation where you learn from one another.

4. It gives you the opportunity to hear other speakers. Don’t pace in the back, practicing your own speech. Sit and listen to the others, really hear what they are sharing, and think about how you can put it into practice in your own business.

5. Finally, events broaden your scope. It’s way too easy to keep your head down, mind your business and never look up at the changing world. Hosting, planning and attending a business event makes you think about where you fit into the business that is conducted today. It might even lead to positive change.

For this event, we took the time to think about how we talk about ourselves, and we condensed it into short ads, social media posts and a workbook for the event. We got our speakers aligned so that, with each speech, the story built and gave attendees a full picture of how, in this case, data has moved to need-based analysis – and there is more change to come.

We learned where we could depend on our co-producer, and leaned on their strengths, as they leaned on ours. Sure, we had plenty of planning meetings, but we worked in some time to get to know each other better, too – so that next time, the base is built.

We talked with some amazing companies in our area. Confession: We speak at events and give presentations across the country, always with the idea of telling others about what we offer. For a change, we found out that we work practically next door to companies who are changing their own sectors in big ways and small – and that we have a lot in common regardless of company size, awareness or financial model.

We brought in as speakers some people we’ve worked with and some with whom we haven’t yet worked. Given what we heard and learned, we walked away knowing our event attendees had to have taken a lot of notes.

So, yes, the event taught us more about ourselves, our community and how businesses operate today. It was inspiring to be in a room filled with people who wanted to learn from the speakers and from one another.

Is a business event worth your time, money and effort?

Try it next time SBJ announces a seminar, conference, workshop or any event where the community can gather. You’ll find it’s worth every bit of time, dollar spent and all the energy put into making it happen. These events are where inspiration starts. Then, who knows what can happen.

Kay Logsdon is director of applications for CultureWaves in Springfield. She can be reached at klogsdon@culturewaves.net.

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