It’s not my party.

Yes it sounds simple, but it is a challenge as much as it is a mantra.

Well, if it’s not my party, then whose party is it? The audience. Another apparently simple statement but, alas, it is not so simple.

Your audience almost always spans more than just those on the invite list. A sample break-down follows:

The Stakeholders: sometimes few, sometimes many; the executive team, the event hosts, partners, and/or your event sponsor
The Sponsors: depending on the scope of the event, this can be external (sponsors in the traditional sense) or internal (dependent upon the structure of the company)
The Speakers: yes, they too need to be considered as their event experience can have a significant impact
The People “outside of the room”: the unseen attendees who the event reaches through social media, webcasts, or more traditional media campaigns (not to mention word of mouth!)

And, of course, most importantly, the core attendees who fill the auditorium, meeting room, or special event venue. Typically, it’s this group that garners the most attention and focus as you develop the agenda and event experience. But don’t stop there.

Take a broader view and document what success look likes for each group and build your agenda with these outcomes in mind. Sponsors are eager to develop new partnerships and leads. Speakers are keen on being showcased in the best light possible so they hit a home run not only for those in the room but those who may potentially engage them at a future event. Internal stakeholders are focused on how they are viewed by the senior leadership team. If the participants are your customers, how are you mapping the event content to what really matters for them so they consider it time well spent and are eager to return?

Invest a good amount of time during the event development stage to ensure that you are creating experiences with every category of your audience in mind. It’s not one-size-fits-all and remember…

It’s their party!