Meeting the needs of event guests

As event planning professionals, most of our readers are aware of the fact that meeting the needs of the client is of primary importance in the successful execution of a corporate meeting or event. Often times, however, we might forget that as an extension of the client, we must also serve and meet the needs of the event guests or delegates. This underscores the equally important factor of understanding exactly what those needs are and how you can address them to make your events memorable, impactful and meaningful.

Psychologists have been studying the concept of human needs for many years. More recently, marketers and brand consultants have been finding ways to incorporate this knowledge into how best to meet those human needs from a business perspective.

The point is each of our needs is unique. In fact a psychologist named Abraham Maslow once formulated what he called a Hierarchy of Needs that ranges from physiological and safety needs to esteem and self actualization.

Then a few years ago, personal development speaker and author Anthony Robbins came along with an updated version of what he called the Six Human Needs. Robbins proposed that by understanding each of these needs, marketers and salespeople can be more persuasive, people can relate better to others and organizations can create better teams and happier employees.

So let’s look at these Six Human needs and see how understanding each of them might lead to stronger business relationships and more successful events:

Certainty/Comfort: Guests expect a certain level of quality and professionalism when they attend an event. From the food and beverages served at a corporate meeting to the lavishness of the décor at a social event, guests know what will make them feel comfortable and satisfied. Paying attention to the little details that address the need for certainty can help you in ensuring not only positive reviews but in an overall memorable experience for delegates.

Variety: The converse of the need for certainty is, of course, the need for variety or novelty. Human beings tend to get bored very easily and an optimal level of uniqueness or variety in your event themes, décor, food and entertainment should be something to strive for. It can be a tricky prospect trying to balance these first two needs but it can also be a great opportunity for planners to stretch their creativity muscles and find new ways to keep guests on their toes while making them feel comfortable at the same time.

Significance: Every person wants to feel that they matter. For an event planner, this means providing each guest with the personal touch. Although it is easy to treat everyone as “just a number,” particularly in a large conference or convention, make sure each guest is made to feel special as much as possible – from personalized tent cards at dinner to thoughtful promotional items and gift bags at registration. Meeting the need for significance will definitely help your event stand out.

Connection/Love: People want to feel connected to others and although meeting the need for “love” may not be possible at a staid corporate event, it is possible to provide guests with opportunities for networking and relationship-building. Incorporating social media into the event can also help in this respect as in many ways Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have replaced organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce as the go-to resource for networking and connection.

Growth: Seminars, breakouts and similar opportunities for learning and growth are essential. Keeping this need in mind is important when hiring speakers and teambuilding specialists. If your delegates walk away feeling that they have learned something valuable or that they have grown as a person or organization, this can’t help but have a positive effect on your future referrals.

Contribution: Most people enjoy, and even need, to be able to give back or contribute to the success or well-being of others. Once again teambuilding components can play a pivotal role here, as can socially responsible events, charitable functions and green meetings. Giving your event guests a chance to feel that they have contributed to the greater good will not only help make your event a success, but will strengthen your ties to the community at large.

If you have other ideas or suggestions you’d like to share, please do so in the space below. Remember, whether it is in your pre- or post-event marketing or during the execution of the actual event itself, understanding and meeting the Six Human Needs take help you make giant leaps in event success.

About the author:

Sean Moon brings more than 20 years of senior communications experience to the MediaEdge team. His experience includes several years as an editor with the Canadian Press, 10 years as the Corporate Communications Director of an international nutrition marketing company, several years in the magazine advertising industry and more than five years as a communications and PR consultant. He has also worked extensively in magazine production, corporate event planning, public relations and marketing communications.

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