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The usefulness of business events is often underestimated. These days we’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that our focus should always be on social media, web traffic and great online content. Yes, these things are important, but we mustn’t neglect face-to-face contact.

It’s no joke that people are turning towards online communication over meeting people face-to-face though at the right venue, the evolution of the internet has caused this.

right venue

Face-to-face contact is crucial for human beings when we’re building connections with other people. It makes no difference whether it’s a social gathering, a date or a business event; the fact is that actually shaking someone by the hand and interacting with them directly, instead of via a phone or a computer screen, is how bonds are really developed.

In this article, we’re going to cover what goes into finding the right venue for your business event. We’re going to look at:

  • Size
  • Style
  • Cancellations
  • Modern services

Let’s start with one of the most fundamental points: the size and capacity of the right venue and how this can affect your event.

Size matters…

OK, so the most obvious point here is that you need to choose a venue that is big enough for all the guests coming to your event. The less obvious point is that you need to make sure that the venue isn’t too big. People often don’t think about this point, but we all know the feeling of being at a restaurant with only one or two other groups in it. It’s awful! It feels empty and slightly depressing, no matter how high our spirits are as we enter and how good the food and the wine are.

As a rule, humans don’t like empty spaces. We like to feel that a room is well-populated – neither too vacant nor too cramped. Striking that balance isn’t always easy and depends on making an accurate estimation of who is coming.

Clearly, with a lot of business events, there is a slightly unknown element – PRs may turn up and may not, you might get last-minute cancellations or, equally, a last-minute flurry of interest. One of the simplest ways to deal with all the complexities of finding the right venue is to go with an event management agency. These are experienced specialists that manage the whole process from start to finish and take the stress out of the organisation. The other thing to remember when planning is that, actually, limiting the number of people who can attend your event isn’t a bad thing.

Of course, the assumption is that the more the merrier – we want to increase the size of our network and make as many new contacts or develop as many existing bonds, as possible. In fact, though, limiting the number of places in order to ensure a better overall experience for the guests that do come can be better than creating a lower-quality experience for a larger number.

You should be confident in this respect and remember Robert Cialdini’s work on The Science of Influence; scarcity makes us value things more highly – we move to the shelves more quickly if we hear that there are only a few items left in a sale and we feel more special if we are one of only a small number to be invited to an event.

Style is everything

Style is everything when it comes to making an impression on prospective clients and business partners, and, indeed, on your existing customers.

When you’re researching potential venues, you should think like a venue scout for the film industry. Wherever you ultimately choose is going to become associated with your business. This isn’t a conscious act; it’s something that happens at a subconscious level in the minds of all your guests. Choose a smart wine bar for a small networking event that is really worth attending. By doing this, your business comes across as smart and slick instead of as ordinary and run-of-the-mill: the inevitable result of choosing a run-of-the-mill pub for the same event!

You must pick your level. Remember that this is not based on what your business is currently like but on what you want your business to become. Don’t choose somewhere that reflects the fact that you’re operating from a tiny office with scruffy desks and various bits and pieces piled up in the corners. Choose somewhere that reflects your aspirations for the business.

If you have the budget then sourcing a bigger venue that is more fitting is important. Grandeur is impressive and sends a powerful message! At the same time though, don’t forget the above point that a big empty space can create a negative impression, no matter how grand. Remember, too, that it’s the little touches that make all the difference when it comes to style; branded, personalised items can be more touching and memorable, if you get them right, than a palatial venue that costs a fortune.

Cancellations

It’s important to find a venue where cancellations are made possible and easy through negotiation.

This might sound like a negative approach to planning; you might ask yourself why you’d want to start organising an event on the basis that it will have to be cancelled. Surely, that sort of cynicism and pessimism cannot be helpful or motivating?

Well, yes and no. Of course, it is important to think positively when going into all our endeavours. This is particularly the case with a business event when you’re seeking to make a good impression on people and ultimately grow the business. At the same time, it’s necessary to be realistic.

You should remember that situations can change fast. An event planned months in advance might have to be changed in the light of a political event or an economic development. By choosing a venue where cancellations are made possible and easy through some tactful negotiation, you ensure that your event planning can be as dynamic as the business climate requires it to be.

You’re not being a negative thinker – you’re facilitating the adaptability of your business.

Modern services

Don’t forget how much we all expect these days. If you go anywhere you just expect to be able to charge your phone, you just expect Wi-Fi and you would certainly appreciate something like free parking.

When choosing the right venue for your event, finding a place that has modern services is critical. A good way to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything is to do a quick thought-experiment. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and run through the typical sequence of actions that will occur, from arrival at your event, through to departure.

For example:

  • Will they arrive by car or public transport?
  • Will they need free parking?
  • Will they need a place to leave wet umbrellas?
  • Is there a bar for them so that they can get a drink?
  • Are there places for them to relax in if they arrive early and have time to kill before any talks begin?
  • Will they need a charge point for their phone if the event is in the evening and they’ve been out working all day?

Asking these sorts of questions means that nothing gets forgotten about. It means that your guests have a good experience and aren’t left irritated by those little negative features of a venue that can undermine an otherwise strong business event.