5 things I learnt from running 5 events in 5 cities in 5 months; as SEVENTEENx toured Australia with Zero budget and no plans other than…. let’s see what happens. This created a huge amount of learning opportunities... but here are 5 of the lessons that come to mind now it's all over...and 2020 tour planning begins.
1. A shared purpose is really powerful.
You can literally feel the energy of a collective purpose in a room full of motivated leaders and entrepreneurs. It’s as if the singular disappears and I becomes a WE really quickly. At each of our events we had an audience mixed with business owners, students, start ups to established entrepreneurs; corporate leaders, non for profits and employees of all levels. Whilst our community is mostly business owners; regardless of the individual position; the collective intention is shared across all of those work levels. Removing the individual from a room and talking in lines of we and us and how we can create impact together has been a huge eye opener in the power of what we can create together.
2. It’s what happens after that is the gold.
Each event was structured pretty much the same; with 4 speakers and a panel at the end. Depending on which city we were in we had varying size of audience. The speakers were all amazing; sharing their story of impact and purpose within their business models. The GOLD however; wasn’t necessarily just on the stage; I found so much of it in the conversations after each event. Chatting and connecting with the audience over a cheeky wine or two to hear everyone’s story and how they were taking inspiration and turning it into action. I feel there is a great business lesson here; that whilst we set out with an intention to deliver our product; perhaps it what happens next that can create the most value; weather it’s a touch point, a follow up or even just a thank you. The vibe in each room after each event was electric and really fulfilling and the audience were in action from the minute we opened the floor.
3. Partnerships make the world turn
5 events; 5 cities; 20 speakers; over 400 participants; 4 national partners and 4 city partners and over $4000 raised for charities nationally and internationally…all off the back of partnerships. Each venue was donated; each speaker donated their time; national partnerships were created for a win/win outcome. With an authentic purpose and an underlying desire to create maximum value for everyone involved in these events; we managed to collaborate with some amazing people from all over the country to raise awareness and engagement for the Global Goals. I walked away from our last event in Melbourne thinking; how can we create these types of partnerships where “value” is the transaction rather than money. What can we build with our teams and business leaders to encourage partnerships within organisations that foster a transaction of value rather than paying a due. I love the questions I encourage teams to ask in meetings stating “this is what my goals is and the help I need is x…” All of a sudden the purpose shifts from what I am going to do; to what can we create under a collaboration. Can partnerships across departments or roles shift culture? I think so.
4. Create your own path
Events typically have a theme of difficulty and stress attached to them. I was told at one stage when researching this in the start by someone in the event space to “don’t do events ; they’re horrible” ; I had other people telling me to prepare for lots of stress; angst; “you’ll lose heaps of money”; “it won’t work”; “events are shit.” But when I looked at it in finder detail; and how I planned on doing this; It looked easier and a lot more fun that what the stigma from the industry was telling me. Maybe I was talking to the wrong people; but event organizing is just a big list attached to a timeline. Now for a task orientated person like me; that is bliss. Write a list ; get it done; and repeat. In the start up space we certainly need to look at how other people have done it their way and take what we can to learn before we leap; however I feel there is a real solace and opportunity in backing yourself; and simplifying the process.
5. ALWAYS Test your Tech
If you have any part of your product delivery that relies on tech; then make sure you test it more than once before you start. This was a lesson out of the “Events 101 Playbook” that was repeated a few times from the tour. Ha! We had a few times where the tech decided to fail; or a video didn’t work; or human error arrived just in time for a speaker walking onto the stage. The reality is that shit happens and at the end of the day; glitches are going to show up in any business and product delivery; if we don’t take life too seriously then moving past them is all too easy. Laugh it off… fix it…keep moving forward. Oh… and test your tech.
You can check it all out over at https://www.seventeensdg.com; and stay tuned for the 2020 Tour via the socials.