By Gena McCown, Co-Founder of WMC
When I have an opportunity to attend a conference or women’s event in the community, only a prior commitment will keep me from registering. As a leader, these events are often those moments when I am the one being served versus serving. They are a space for me to just be one of the girls instead of the person in charge, and I find that I am often refueled and inspired from my time at the event. Leaders are always pouring out and I have said it before, we must also ensure that we are being poured into.
I also pay a LOT of attention to the details of the event. I am learning from what works, what doesn’t, and trying to take away things I can share with other leaders. This weekend, I was able to attend an event at Christ Fellowship called “Amazing”. The theme for the event was “Flourish”, and it was executed flawlessly (at least to the perspective of the attendee). I’d like to recap some of the things that I feel Christ Fellowship did with excellence. And, the good news is, everything they did was something any church of any size could accomplish.
- Clear Communication – From the earliest advertisements of the event to the moment you left the event, there was never a moment where I struggled for information. I knew exactly when and where the event was, what time it started, and what to expect. When I arrived there were signs for parking, volunteers to help navigate the parking, volunteers to help you get to the front doors, and the entrance was clearly marked. Once inside, in addition to an information desk, there was absolutely not issue finding the restrooms or getting assistance. As you moved through the event, you knew what to expect and when to expect it. Clear communication is KEY to a successful event. If a person struggles to find information about an event, they are less likely to register. Struggling once there can ensure they may not return.
- Visible Volunteers and Staff – As you moved from parking to the event itself, and then the post event activities… volunteers and staff members were easy to spot. You never know when you are going to need assistance, and knowing exactly who to speak to is comforting. However, it also says volumes about the church community & commitment when they see many volunteers on premises and the staff in attendance.
- Event Ran on Schedule – I think anyone appreciates events that start on time and finish on time. There are times when you just can’t avoid it, such as when technical difficulties arise. What people want to know is that those moments are exceptions to the norm. In the 5 years we have be running the WMC, I can count on 1 hand the number of times we have gone over our scheduled end time.
- A Well Executed Theme – I have been to some events that have a “theme” but what I walked into wasn’t cohesive. Why does this matter? In this point I’m not focused on how much money was spent, but rather that there was clear direction. The team responsible for the event were thoughtful to ensure that all the details supported versus took away from the theme. They approached these details with an editing eye. Could they have done more? Sure. Less? Definitely. From my opinion, what was there was a perfect balance and avoided overkill.
- Community Involvement and Cooperation – When the event was over, we were released for lunch and invited to stay and mingle. By the way, that was the fastest and most efficient food line I have ever walked through and I’ve been to MANY conferences that cost far more. Outside, there was a cute little market set up where we could shop from local vendors. It was sweet to see the church supporting the community in such a way.
- They Welcome the Linger – Something that really stood out to me was that they didn’t rush us off the campus when the event was over. We were invited to stay and linger. There were no lights dimmed to signify they were shutting down the house, or doors being locked. No one was ushering us out the door, but instead inviting us to sit down and connect to one another. I can’t express how much I loved this, but also how it stood out against every other event I have ever attended anywhere (from local church to national conferences). The main event itself ran on schedule, which is a blessing for those who were running on a schedule for the day (especially considering it was Mother’s Day weekend). However, they created a space where staying back to talk and connect was not just welcomed but encouraged.
Personally, I’d love a chance to sit down with some of the key planners of the event and walk through their process… I’m always up for learning more.