Once upon a time....creating events that tell a story

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Event planner Bobbi Klein explains the importance of developing a narrative to make a special event successful.

There was a company which prided itself on giving back to the community. One day the owners decided to have a large event to support the local school district, which had numerous children living in poverty. This event would be like a trip to Disney World--a place to forget all of their troubles and have fun.

Events of all scales today are telling a story, whether it is personal (as in a wedding) or corporate (i.e., conference or trade show). The story has to continue through the decorations and planning from the event planners to bring it to life.

Find the story from your clients

Your clients may not have an exact story, but this is part of the event planner's job in order to make the event successful. You want to have the audience captivated from the very start. Find out the details that the client wants to include, from theme, number of guests, guest demographics, and the purpose of the event.

Knowing this information you can create a storywith a beginning, middle and end with the setting of the decorated venue.

Making the story come to life

Stories are just words told to us or read on paper, but bringing them to life lets us experience them. Creating these experiences captivate the audience into remembering the story.

Have you ever heard a story and a few minutes into your friend telling it you became uninterested? We have all been there, and we are not bad friends for not listening to the entire story. It was not told in a way that captivated us from the very beginning.

Create a backdrop that captures the guests’ attention from the moment that they walk into the venue. If the goal of the night is to make it a fairy-tale setting for local children, then make sure you have enchanted forests, sparkling lights, and princes and princesses. You may even have a dress-up area for the children to fully get in the mood and attend their own ball, just like in "Cinderella."

Have a beginning, middle, and end

Stories do not jump from the beginning to the end. There are always pieces in between that make the reader want to continue reading. The agenda of the event will be planned in conjunction with the client, but it is still the event planner’s job to make sure that these pieces are included.

Will the children go around to various stations to prepare for the ball and then have dinner and lastly be surprised with gift bags full of surprises to make their night truly magical?

You have been ingrained to follow storylines since you were a young child. That is how we relate and remember things in life. If you put these same principles into your events, they will stand apart from everyone else’s 100 percent of the time.

Remember to add the key ending ... And they lived happily ever after!

How are you going to tell your next story?

Bobbi Klein (@bobbiklein) is the CEO of Splendore (@SplendoreMktg), a Greenwood, Ind.-based marketing firm specializing in event planning, experiential marketing and event services. She is also an adjunct Spanish professor at Butler University. You can find her at your local coffee shop, as she loves to travel and see the world.

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