When it comes to events, conventional wisdom has maintained that bigger is better. But, through the MinorityEye’s weekly event emails, we have had the opportunity to host, attend, and promote hundreds, if not thousands, of events. What we have found along the way is that big, crowded events are becoming a thing of past as businesses, organizations, and even entertainers have begun adopting smaller, more intimate events to create a better experience for attendees and optimize opportunities to
Through our own research and studying of events, we have identified several reasons why intimate events in smaller spaces are becoming the norm beginning with the fact that more intimate events are generally more cost effective. Anyone who has planned an event knows that there are many hidden costs that, inevitably, add up. Everything from producing name tags, to printing programs and agendas, to renting space has a cost associated with it. As a result, with more people in attendance costs go up. More name tags need to be ordered, more agendas need to be printed, and larger space will need to be paid for.
With smaller events, many of those costs shrink and free up funds that can be invested in enhancing the event experience for those in attendance. Perhaps you can order nicer refreshments, or use a higher quality paper for those programs. Better yet, you can pass along those cost savings to your attendees and lower the registration fees which would go a long way towards creating goodwill between your organization and your event attendees and increase the likelihood that they’ll want to invest their own resources in any future events you may have.
Just as important as costs, however, is the fact that small events lend themselves to enhanced engagement. Big events with large crowds make quality networking difficult, or even quality socializing for that matter. When people walk into a room with hundreds of people, they instinctively feel a pressure to try to meet as many people as possible. So they dash about the room making small talk and handing out business cards. Or they feel so overwhelmed by the crowd that they hover in one place and only meet the people who come into their immediate orbit. If the event is more social in nature, guests may miss out on seeing people they may know because the space is so large and the crowd is so big that they can’t make their way around the whole room.
By contrast, small events automatically cultivate a more relaxed climate. Since there are fewer people to meet, attendees have the sense that they’ll have ample time to meet everyone in the room and it’s less intimidating to walk around and engage others. Or they can easily spot people they know. Conversations are richer and true connections can be made as attendees feel that they can linger in an engaging conversation discovering shared interests and common goals with others in the room.
Attendees are also able to get more out of a small event because more intimate events minimize distractions. This is particularly true for professional workshops and business development events where there is a keynote speaker or a presenter in front of the room who is providing attendees with information that can help them meet professional goals. However, it is a point that can also be applied to more social events where there may be a central point of focus.
Either way, when an event is smaller and more intimate, attendees feel less fearful of asking questions. They can sit closer to the presenter which allows them to hear better and take better notes. And people are less likely to have side conversations in an intimate space which allows everyone present to focus their attention on the information being presented. As an added bonus, intimate events make it easier for the presenter to have a conversation with attendees after the program is over.
The bottom line is that many people actually prefer a more intimate event in a smaller setting and event planners have fully caught on to that fact. Regardless of whether it is a business event or a social event, smaller events held in an intimate environment put people at ease. Once people are at ease, they can open themselves up to receiving information that’s provided, meeting new people and engaging with others
Deeper engagement keeps people coming back for more and cultivates relationships that can lead to investments in funding, time, and future events.