3 things learned from staging an event.
You’re probably familiar with the feeling of trying something for the very first time. It’s uncomfortable, voices of fears and doubts in your mind - it’s hard to believe your efforts will get you to your goal.
So why do we bother?
The sheer value that ‘first try’ teaches you is phenomenal. Confidence, vision, and all these micro-skills begin to develop after you take the plunge and have that initial experience. But it only starts with that first step.
Here’s some moments of growth staging the ‘Inclusive Entrepreneurship’ event provided us first year Entrepreneurship students, and how our first attempt made us stronger:
The social media team set out with goals that measured metrics such as likes, retweets, followers, posting frequency and more. A few weeks in, investing time and effort into running these platforms seemed like it was paying off, we were growing a bigger following – that means we’re succeeding, right? But then, why had so few people bought tickets to our event at this point…?
The realization came on a course expedition to Bristol. We found that our fellow second years of our very course had BARELY heard of our event, let alone understood it – yet we were featuring them in this event! That’s where we learnt social media alone wasn’t going to get the word out, we needed to become the marketing team.
Only.. we were so far into this process that time was no longer on our side, we needed this pivot in strategy much, much earlier and that cost us. We were measuring metrics that didn’t directly translate to ticket sales.
Measuring the wrong metrics and you’ll get nothing but an illusion of progress; our actions need to always be getting us closer to the end goal, period.
As a team, we should have been coordinating impactful ways to get people aware of our event, to get them interested. Eye-catching posters; informative flyers; getting out there and talking to our target audience so we connect with them; leveraging the exposure of lecturers across their hordes of students. Personally, if someone came up to me and started telling me about their event with all the reasons why it would be worth my time, and I could see they were passionate about it – I’d take a flyer at the very least.
Was something, less technical than lesson one, that I discovered personally. Being one of the team leaders for the team wasn’t a position I was used to, or something I’d usually be willing to do. As a leader, responsibility is on you, not just to get the team closer to the goal but making sure to bring out the skills each member of the team possesses and utilising it.
I learned not to let frustration take hold when people didn’t seem to respond and thus resort to being forceful to get members to complete tasks. If people don’t seem motivated or ‘present’, there’s an underlying problem there that needs to be figured out. They might be confused, too scared to ask for help. Maybe it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Seeing the team low on morale doesn’t mean they need to be pushed harder – that’s what a boss would do – a leader needs to help the team see the vision and get them working in unison to get there. Having this as a first opportunity to take on the leadership role, I’m thankful.
Seeing the event translate from ideas to manifesting in reality was powerful – and that’s the reality of doing new things. The results will motivate you more than you think. Seeing individuals walk into the venue with their mind inquisitively open and ready to absorb the content our event, these people that had followed our event in the lead-up and were here in the flesh and blood, giving us a chance for us to impact them. Amazing.
So, us seeing it to the end rewarded us to see our vision in real life. That’s something core to every entrepreneur, the drive and desire to see their dreams manifest into the world around them. Big fist-bump to us all for making this first move and growing from it. Many more moments of growth to come.