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Designing Impactful Events

By: Catherine McGuire | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Jan 30, 2023

When we think about in-person events, we think about the energy that fills the room as attendees arrive, the new connections that are made, and the relationships that are enhanced by way of sharing an experience. In-person events are where communities are built, ideas are generated, and businesses flourish.


These are the aspects of events that keep us inspired as planners. But there’s an important piece to consider now. As we transition from a time where work and life were deeply intertwined to a time where work must fit with our personal values, people are looking for a sense of purpose in their work. 

So how does this change the way we plan events?

Events often include travel, time outside the office, time away from home, and additional expenses. No big deal in 2019 but considered much more in 2022 and beyond. Not only are businesses taking a closer look at costs and employee productivity, but employees are looking at how their work affects their time and individual goals.

If we start with why and are intentional in our actions, we can identify our objectives and we can create experiences that are meaningful for our guests (great for life, and great for business).

Here’s how you can design impactful events that add a sense of purpose to your attendees.

Know your audience
Research the demographic, know what is important to them, and be specific about your desired outcomes as you begin planning. Apply this to every step of the journey (from registration to returning home).

FCF9F62D-75CB-494C-ACA7-7F70617B4E5CAlign the program to your values
The best way to achieve results is to live in alignment with our core values. This is said to be true in all aspects of life and applies to events too. When we are true to our values, we best represent ourselves and our organizations, and can maximize the delivery of our experience to like-minded audiences and partners.

You can’t do it all, so having focus areas is critical in staying on-brand.

Create an inclusive environment
Your people want to feel seen. Consider the areas in which you can be diverse, inclusive, and forward-thinking. Both live and virtually. If you’re feeling stuck, intimidated, or simply looking for new ideas, ask for help. There are AMAZING resources specific to levelling up these aspects of your work that are underutilized. A little shout out goes to our friends at Eco Friendly Events to help you make your events kinder to the environment, or to Empowered EDI who can support your EDI goals, and to Camille Dundas who can share some truly valuable stories and learnings around diversity and allyship - applicable to just about any workplace right now. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate
Do people know what to expect, where to go, and how to get there? For some it’s been a while! The more detail, the better the experience.

Include all the details on all platforms (emails, webpages, apps, etc.) so users can access everything they need in one place, no matter where they look.

Support local
We have a huge opportunity as event professionals to impact the small businesses inPhoto for blog the destinations where we meet. Whether it’s products or services, by supporting local we can do a lot of good for entrepreneurs - a critical group in our economy. 

Make an impact
Have a little extra time and room in your budget? Ask your local partners about CSR possibilities. Everyone loves a program that gives back!

Share the results
Ah, the art of the follow through and follow up. There’s no harm in a little bragging every now and then. Sharing the results and all the awesome work that went into, and came as a result of your programming is worth talking about. Don’t miss this step!

People want to be a part of something bigger. So whether you’re educating, celebrating, or simply gathering, think about the opportunity you have to work together with others and create a ripple of impact that goes beyond your meeting and gives back to the greater community involved.

About the Author

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Catherine McGuire is a female entrepreneur; founder and creator at WholeHearted; an agency dedicated to enriching workplace experiences through the implementation of social care into organizational programs. WholeHearted's programs bring together corporate values and community needs.



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Catherine McGuire | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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