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It’s the Little Things: Take Your Event to the Next Level
March 6, 2020

Whether you’re a beginner or a guru, the event planning world is beautiful, stressful, multi-dimensional, unique, exciting, confus- you get the point. Organizing and executing events, big or small, means you are creating memories for others that can and will have a lasting impact, especially if you do it right. Often, it is minor details that make a big difference and provide the framework for a successful event. Do you want to take your event to the next level and give your attendees the best experience possible? Us too! Here are a few little things you can do.

1. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Brightness and tones can make a significant impact on how your attendees feel and their ability and desire to participate. Cool toned lighting makes us energetic, alert, and productive. These affects last for up to a half hour after exposure ceases. It also makes faces and food look worse and makes it hard to relax or fall asleep. Warm toned lighting is cozy, encouraging us to stay and relax. Soft, dim lighting also makes us relaxed, meaning we are actually less likely to think through decisions and often move at a slower pace. Natural light makes us happier and healthier. Light sources from above make us look tired and cast shadows. Light sources from below highlight and enhance human facial features. Front-facing or slightly angled lighting is great for photos. Lighting can even affect our appetite and perception of flavor. Changing light gradually is also important, preventing a major distraction or shock to attendees. Think about the lights suddenly turning on at 2am in the bar… *shudder* not a great feeling.

2. Empty the Trash

Empty out the garbage cans before your event, big or small. It makes the space more visually appealing, mitigates risk of bad smells, and makes the space feel fresh and inviting. Not to mention, it reduces the likelihood of overflowing garbage which no one wants to deal with.

3. Bathroom Basics

Ensure that the washrooms have toilet paper, paper towel and/or the hand dryers are working. Place things like a basket of pads and tampons, condoms, breath mints, maybe even a tiny sewing kit, in the washrooms. Whatever small things you think your attendees might get good use out of when they are in a pinch. These details show you care and will make an attendee in need very happy.

4. Identifiable Staff

All staff and/or volunteers should be easily identifiable, whether it be shirts with your organization’s logo, lanyards, headsets, or simply colour coordination. This allows your guests to feel confident when looking for answers or directions. You will appear more trustworthy, established, and prepared.

5. DANG, that smells good!

Our sense of smell is very powerful. What smells suit your event? Do you want them relaxed? Energized? Find different air fresheners or essential oils that compliment your desired atmosphere. A safe bet is a gentle, clean smell such as “summer rain”, like the detergent? You know what I mean. Let your attendees smell the delicious food before a meal to encourage their appetite. Citrus is also good in small quantities. Too much will cause headaches. Gross smells make people impatient. Pleasant, fresh smells make people more efficient and set higher goals. Also note that smells are stronger in humid environments and weaker in dry ones. 
Another fun fact about smells, people who are exposed to the smell of baking cookies or coffee are more inclined to help others and engage with strangers. WOW!

6. Greet Everyone

I mean everyone! This is typical for smaller and banquet style events, but even with a larger event such as a concert, make sure the door staff or security are saying a friendly hello to every attendee as they come through. It doesn’t have to be a conversation, simply an acknowledgement. This one interaction could set an attendee’s mood for the duration of the event and their perception of it. First impressions are key. Make it a good one.

7. FREE Stuff

I’m sure you are familiar with this one! That’s what I call added value. Many of you are programming for post-secondary institutions or targeting people ages 18-24. They typically don’t have a ton of disposable income; thus, they love free things. Give out free food, drinks, tickets, swag, consultations, photos, templates, information packages, coupons, the possibilities are endless. Whatever you think your attendees would get value out of, toss it in. It doesn’t even have to be directly relevant to the event you are hosting. Having a career fair? Give away a mini fridge or concert tickets. That sounds fun, right?

Gabrielle Bailey
Vice President Events & Promotions
Acadia Students' Union