Driving Clients Crazy: Set in Stone vs. Flexible Events

Right now, we're ramping up for a good half-dozen January events. As we put together show flows, presenter scripts, emcee guides, etc. We're driving a few of our clients a bit crazy.

This certainly isn't on purpose, but some people need everything to be set in stone weeks before an event. We simply don't operate that way.

That doesn't mean that every single element isn't meticulously thought out--it is. What it *does* mean is that an event is a living, breathing creature. Without flexibility it won't necessarily suffocate in its own box, but it can be a fraction of its potential.

Here are the advantages of a flexible event:
  • Not having everything set allows you to adjust your presentations/flow to the mood of the audience.
  • Sometimes spontaneous activities need to be inserted to increase the energy level of the room.
  • Things happen at an event. You want to be able to comment on them, script them in, etc.
  • Flexible content allows you to adjust to the knowledge base of the audience. If things are too difficult to understand or too easy the audience is going to check out.
  • Sometimes the best ideas come out at the last minute. You don't want to reject something that could be exactly what the event needs just because it wasn't planned weeks in advance.
  • Mistakes happen. You need to be able to correct them seamlessly.
This is also, sometimes, why we don't publish a minute-by-minute, bullet-by-bullet agenda or content summary. If the audience has an exact road map of what's coming, they are utterly unforgiving when things have to be changed (and things, very often, DO change during an event whether things are supposed to be set in stone or not).
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