MONDAY 29 APR 2019 2:17 PM


The inaugural Internal Communications and Engagement Awards are taking place in London on 13 May. Irwin Mitchell has been shortlisted at the awards

Creating and delivering a successful event is no mean feat; once you’re immersed in the process it can feel like it’s taking over your life. Is all the hard work really worth it? What makes for a successful event?

We’ve all been to numerous parties and work events, attending them with a mixture of excitement, trepidation and sometimes with the mindset of ‘I can’t wait for this to be over.’ Being on the other side as part of the team responsible for putting on an event – and armed with this knowledge – can be a daunting task.

You want to help your audience enjoy the day and make sure they leave wanting more.  

My team and I look at events with the purpose of what we’re trying to achieve before we do anything else. By ‘we,’ this typically means an extended group of stakeholders ranging from the most senior leaders to subject matter experts across the business. It’s our job to distil these requirements and check that they will make sense to the attendees. And, by attending the event, colleagues will be engaged and understand their role in being there and what is expected of them after the event too; we don’t view events as standalone, but as part of a campaign approach. Events should be an intrinsic part of an internal communications and engagement strategy and clearly aligned to the overall business strategy.

Once we’ve defined our purpose, we set some clear objectives and associated measures. Quite simply, that helps us focus on the elements that come together to make the event work and how well they’ve landed with the audience – ranging from logistics to content. Asking for feedback shouldn’t be seen as something to worry about, rather a great opportunity to improve your events. Insight is also a useful tool in helping stakeholders (at all levels) understand what the audience really engages with and why.

Maintaining momentum can be as difficult as delivering the event itself, especially where there’s a requirement for attendees to do something as a result. Transparency is vital here – be clear with what you want people to do a result of what they’re hearing, seeing and taking part in and why. Be equally clear about the tools and support available and how all of this will be shared with non-attendees. Then, share the information; make it accessible and easy for everyone to engage with – both from a content and channels perspective – and follow up with attendees and colleagues across the business to see what’s actually happening as a result.

Finally, have fun and celebrate your success. We all work really hard to make events a success and that should be recognised, both internally and externally. A team that has fun working together and celebrates success together is a recipe for continued success.

James Powell is the head of internal communications at Irwin Mitchell

To book your tickets for the awards, click here