Have you ever been to one of those parties? You know, the party where everything has that hand-crafted, hyper-themed, perfectly-positioned feel. The party that looks like someone’s Pinterest board threw up into real life. Of course you have, because that seems to be every party now-a-days. It seems like every time I turn around, I’m at another event full of decorations that probably took hours of an open iPad to create. And to be quite frank, I think it is a little crazy.
Only because I’ve been there. I have been on the back side of the hours of preparation. I have sat in the event planning meeting. I have seen adrenaline packed hours coming when the end product is nowhere near the promise on the Pinterest picture. In fact, I kind of dread it.
I think we are trading trendy for quality. I think we are trading frenzy for substance. I think we might be missing the point when our party theme is “I found it on Pinterest”. In a nutshell, that is point of this post. It’s not about Pinterest or any other event idea generation portal.
It all comes down to one question: What is my focus?
Here are four options.
When you go to a birthday party, you are going because of the person. You are going because of your connection to the person. You are going to celebrate the person. So, naturally, the party should be centered around that person. Especially when it comes to kid parties.
Events should focus on a purpose and everything involved in the event should contribute to the focus. The theme, the decor, and the feel should push the attendees’ attention toward the focus. The purpose of the event should be the lasting impression on the minds of the attendees.
When it comes to events, find the main thing and keep it the main thing.
Attendees are important. Their perception is important. After all, perception is reality. They come through the door to your event with expectations. They remember what happened last year. They wonder what will happen this year.
I have been involved in plenty of events where the expectations of the attendees drove the creative process. In fact, it might even be the majority of events. But when attendee expectations drive event planning, the purpose tends to suffer. Your purpose becomes topping last year’s event instead of driving your attendees’ focus toward the real purpose.
If you have to turn your event into a circus to appease the masses or hand out hand-crafted goodie bags to feel as though your event was a success, it is likely your purpose has been hijacked.
The easiest shift in focus is toward the thrower. When the party or event becomes about the attendees’ perception of you, you have clearly lost sight of the purpose. Whether you are creating a client event or a kid’s three-year-old birthday party, if you are the topic of conversation as people leave, you haven’t done your job well.
It is so difficult not to fall into this trap. You’re involved. You’re tied to this event. Your reputation is tied to this event. But at the end of the day, the event isn’t about you. Unless, of course, you’re throwing your own party, which is a different problem for a different post.
If all people can talk about after the event is how creative you are, then you’ve failed as a creative.
When an event becomes about the source of creativity, your purpose typically gets overshadowed. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good Pinterest enhanced party, but I hate the fact that so many events get hijacked by the “need” for extra hype.
Be creative, but don’t be distracted by the fluff. Be creative, but don’t disrespect your attendees by placing too much attention on something other than the purpose.
If you have a great purpose, it will shine more than “I found it on Pinterest”.
What is the best purpose-focused event you have ever attended? Have you ever seen an event get hijacked? Have you ever let an event get hijacked?