Last Updated on October 7, 2021
I’ve said on several occasions that event planners need to be natural storytellers, but there’s a bit more to it than that. An event manager needs to be able to engage their audience on a personal and human level, but at the same time, they need to be able to present themselves as professionals. It can be a difficult balance to maintain, and in unskilled hands, relatability and professionalism tend to be mutually exclusive.
In short, simply being able to tell a story isn’t enough – it’s how you tell the story that really counts.
It wasn’t always this way: we’ve seen a significant shift over the past decade in consumer-brand relations. Like many of the changes in modern society, the root of this shift lies with the Internet. The birth of social media has done strange things to the relationship between customer and brand– this most assuredly includes attendees. Today’s consumer expects a different breed of communication, one that’s just personal enough to make them feel engaged. Approaching someone like you’re a salesperson is a surefire way to be ignored.
Addressing a consumer with the opposite attitude is just as bad. An event manager or marketing professional cannot become too friendly with their audience. People want to be spoken to on a personal level; they want to be able to relate to whoever they’re communicating with. What they don’t want is to see a brand representative acting like either an immature child or their best friend. That just tends to drive home the uncomfortable truth: someone is trying to sell them something, whether it’s a product, a brand, or an idea.
It reminds them that they’re basically being manipulated.
People are aware of that on some level already, of course; consumers aren’t stupid. They understand that you’re trying to win them over. This doesn’t make your job any easier, but simply makes it even more imperative that you know what you’re doing. If you can’t even be bothered to put a bit of effort into pitching your brand; if your communiqués come across as boring, fake, or unprofessional, then you can be certain you won’t be meeting with success any time soon.
You need to strike the proper balance, but this is something you cannot necessarily do if you do not possess an understanding of the people you’re talking to. After all, how can you make yourself relatable if you don’t know who it is you’re trying to relate to?
The best event planners (and marketers) are able to speak to their customers on a personal level, without ever stepping out of their role as business professionals. They’re able to tell stories that allow people to put a human face on their brand. Moreover, they’re able to tell these stories in such a way that the people they’re told to feel genuinely important.
I’ve said that an event planner needs to be a natural storyteller, but that’s not the only thing they need. An understanding of both one’s audience and of human behavior as a whole is vital. The best event planners tailor their stories, speaking in such a way that it’s clear that they’ve taken the time to relate to whoever they’re talking to. It’s that effort which makes all the difference, both on the event floor and off.
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