Have you ever taken a personality test? Whether for fun or to better understand who you are and how you experience the world, knowing more about your personality provides an operational framework, even if it’s understanding of which Disney Princess you are (FYI - I’m Pocahontas).
Whether for understanding yourself or understanding others in a work environment, in a family environment, or a social media environment, traditional personality evaluations reveal a plethora of ways to communicate your values, your outward communication strategies and how you best receive external communications. According to a blog posted by executive search firm Carrhure, there are many helpful reasons people take personality tests on their own and why many employers request prospective employees take them, including:
- They help you identify your strengths
- They help you understand your weaknesses
- They help you adapt to the environment you are in
- They help you find new approaches to your work
Think about your events. Do you ever evaluate their personality traits? Think about it; when you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your events, explore approaches and environments that strengthen your audience connection, your events can become stronger marketing tools.
According to research from Harvard Business Review Analytics Services, 52 percent of survey respondents say event marketing drives more business value than other marketing channels. As event professionals, we know they are effective, but I believe that effectiveness relies on producing the right event for the desired outcome. We must identify what type of event we need to produce to reach those goals, which is why it’s important to understand event personalities. I propose that most events in their natural state fit into four overarching categories:
Connecting events are those that bring together people with similar interests, which can include team-building, networking and alumni events. The desired outcome is to position your organization as the one who brings together and supports this activity.
Educating events are those whose purpose is to teach attendees about a specific topic. In a business setting they can include Internal and/or external product launches, sales meetings and information sessions. In higher education, they can be conferences, symposia and admissions information sessions.
Celebrating events are the ones with a simple message of “thank you”; Thank you for your financial support, thank you for getting us to a goal, thank you for your dedication to a team or a project.
Motivating events can look a lot like educational or connecting events, but their real goal is to motivate attendees to take action while they are at your event. Think about most fundraising events you’ve produced or attended. You educate about the organization and you ask for a donation while everyone is still in the room.
Is it easy to identify the personality types for your events? Some appear pretty straightforward while others don’t.
Does it feel like your events can fit into multiple categories? Just like people, sometimes events can fit into multiple categories. Your conference can educate and connect and your fundraiser can educate and motivate, right?
It’s important to understand the innate tendency of your event, understanding the “why” of your event. Think about it in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator terminology: E stands for extrovert and I stands for introvert. An I is energized by small groups and being alone, but can also be an eloquent public speaker with no fear speaking to hundreds of people, not usually a role that works for introverts. So, does that mean that all of a sudden that I is now an E? No. As the website 16personalities.com says, we have innate tendencies (like being an introvert), but we are constantly influenced by environmental factors (we are in a leadership role and need to speak to a crowd).
Putting this into event personality terms, when you understand your event’s true “why” you see its innate tendency and then can recognize what environmental influences affect it. Environmental influences can either enhance or detract from the marketing strength of your events. Influences that dilute your message or create a user experiences just for the sake of a “cool” experience often result in confused and disillusioned attendees, who wonder why they attended in the first place.
In conclusion, when you take the time to understand your event personality (the “why” of your event), no matter what its innate category or the environmental influences, you get a clearer vision to build your SMART goals and strategic plan, which in turn strengthens your ability to strategically plan, market, produce and communicate your events.