So - you have an idea. It has been with you for some time now - let’s pretend that it is not important what exactly it's about. Could be anything, but let’s stay in the event management world. You might take an old concept and give it a new touch. Or you might find a target group which has not been targeted yet. You think you have THE location of the century? THE concept for the „next big thing"? What happens - you will mill around and go through best and worst cases, your brain will do a great job of virtually giving you any picture, outcome, calculation etc. And after some days you feel that you are at a stage in preliminary planning where you could start telling someone about it. But what if nobody likes your idea? What if someone you talk to takes the idea and does something with it by themselves? What if no one finds the time to listen? There will be many, many hurdles in front of you if you do to much thinking… here are some ideas on how it works for me - and might work for you, too:
Clearly, this concept will not work for everybody and also not under all circumstances is it advisable to talk „too open“; especially when there is more than one party involved. But as long as you feel that your counterpart can be trusted though, honesty and transparency are the keys that will bring you ahead. Faster than you might think.
Don’t spend days wondering who to ask first and who not and what to tell person X and what not and so on… And most importantly: Talk to people who will have absolutely nothing to do with your audience or target group - you will not believe how many good ideas, honest questions, friendly remarks will come from people completely out of the scope of your project… These people are not biased. They have no personal interest in the project. No competing ideas. No alternatives they might compare your idea to. Be open. Let the world know what you are up to - you will get more and better results if one feels that you are truly seeking feedback, without trying to hold information back. And about the people who try to steal your idea... Let them try - it is always good if someone breaks the ice - and you can sit back and watch, and then zero in from the flank and make it better. Remember, you are the good one ;)
Every single talk, every single minute spent in this very early stage of planning can save hours, days or months of your time. The road to completion will be bumpy in times, and you might deviate from your original concept, you might find yourself on a completely different track after some time… but I promise: You will build confidence in your project and in yourself, and lots of it. You will know if you are setting your sights on something that the world wants - or not. You will have started viral marketing with zero budget, because through your open talks alone people already know and spread the information about something that will be coming in two years time. Follow-up talks will be very easy, because slowly but steadily you can involve your audience… you will pull people into your virtual planning team simply by asking their opinion - they will be grateful, whether you follow their advice or not.
Yes? Good. Because I cannot stress this enough. One and a half years or even two sounds like a long shot? It might, and there is no rule of thumb. But just consider this: in research, time is not that crucial, but the results are. And taking into account that the road leading to the final draft for the first event can and will (and should!) take twists and turns you would do well not even letting time get the chance to be a limiting factor. Just imagine: After three months of research you get the honest assumption that the location you preferred is not the one that will fit best. Now you will need time to look for alternatives - advance booking is the key so you do not want to start searching six months before you want to hit the road with your event… or: one main part of your idea seems not to stick with the people you are telling it to, or even worse: It becomes apparent that the main part of your concept has flaws or will even work against your goal… you get the picture. Therefore: Take your time ;)
Nils Cordell M.A.
Nils has more than two decades of experience in event management. The Germany-based independent contractor began organizing events in college and continued part-time after joining the University of Freiburg during his studies of geography and political science. After reaching his Masters degree in 2004, Nils got serious with the co-production and implementation of what is now one of Europe’s largest dance festivals - the Euro Dance Festival, held every year at Germanys largest amusement park. Up to 1300 dancers per day enjoy this five-day festival, choosing from 450+ workshops held by over 130 trainers. Five skill levels and almost every dance style you can imagine make for a great selection. Add to this four nights of world-class show performances, eight dance floors to party until sunrise… 2016 marks the ten year anniversary of this extraordinary event. In 2014, Nils was one of the masterminds behind a second festival at the Europa-Park, which has since grown to an unprecedented success: the Ladies Only Festival, celebrating three days of fitness, dance, health, beauty and wellness - and as the name implies: exclusively for women. Currently, Nils is working on a different type of event, reaching out into the realm of corporate health management and developing a congress which brings together, for the first time, elements from „leisure“ and „serious" content.