Steve Pinnock the MD at Performance & Event Management Limited has written our first blog for 2020.

As you look ahead and plan the next 12 to 18 months, do you visualise where the organisation will be and what you must do to get there? The answer is probably yes, but even so many business leaders defer tactical decisions and final commitments to action for as long as possible. The rationale is that situations change and unexpected demands on budgets may arise. They regard some discretionary spend as optional and see no problem in delaying confirmation.

Live events are a powerful form of corporate communication and provide a platform from which to present information, ideas and practical initiatives for change and development. Why is it important to commit to these events well ahead of time, as part of a corporate communications plan? These are some of the reasons:

• Events are milestones along a development path which make a greater impact when signalled well in advance
• Starting a journey towards corporate objectives is done with greater conviction and enthusiasm when targets and thresholds are clear and simple
• Events are a tangible demonstration of progress and an opportunity to encourage direct feedback and involvement from stakeholders
• Reporting back on input from live events and decisions that have resulted from them feeds the need for recognition, which in turn can motivate the audience to sustain their efforts
• Making events stimulating and engaging will always add an extra dimension to the business message, giving the brand an identity and turning values into live experiences.

Timing and continuity count

The best way to incorporate events into a communications strategy is to see them as pillars that support the bridge between the messengers and their audience, or between the present and the future. So, the bridge connects two sides, often relying on a tower at either end of the suspended road or walkway. Crossing the divide safely can be unnerving, so the towers provide security and reassurance that the bridge is safe.

Accepting a new plan of action requires people to “cross the divide”. People do not like change and often feel insecure and diffident about policies and procedures that are imposed on them. The positive effect that a live event offers is that it can allow the proposed transition to be examined closely, in person. Questions can be asked and concerns addressed immediately.

Once the “launch” event has gained approval for the plan, it is important to provide guidance and a safety rail to ensure that participants remain confident and determined to reach “the other side”. A mid-way review meeting and recognition of progress will reward the outstanding achievers but also encourage the rest to press on. Continuity, in the form of regular bulletins, can be beneficial in maintaining morale.

Reaching the end of the road (the fulfilment of the plan) is a time to celebrate and consolidate. The anticipation of that moment can help to accelerate movement towards the objective. Sales targets, cost reductions, quality improvements, approval ratings and market share increases are all possible measures of success. Live events are a great way of keeping the team united behind the vision and helping everyone to be part of the mission, to improve performance.