Association Event Network December 2019 | Page 5

ABPCO Column Your event’s most important quality might be the one most difficult to measure, says ABPCO’s Heather Lishman LIKE SO MANY intangible concepts, the meaning of legacy is different for different people. However, there are some basics we can all agree on — association events should recognise that success is about being bigger than the event itself, with content created to have a far-reaching, positive and meaningful impact. In an ideal situation, a legacy changes something for the better. Depending on your audience, that could mean changing the mindset of one person, or it could mean changing the world. Ultimately, legacy is not a one size fits all concept — it is personal and relevant to each individual and their specific needs. To truly define whether or not an event has a positive meaningful legacy, we must first establish what that looks like for an association through the creation of objectives, goals and KPIs. Some — such as financial results, delegate attendance, or media reach — are easy to identify in terms of hard facts and figures. Others are less tangible and harder to establish, such as determining whether or not the event benefitted those in the room and beyond it. Ask yourself: is your event about the relationships built in the room, or is it about messages and content? To truly understand the positive meaningful legacy of an event, we need to understand why we are holding it and what organisers, attendees and the wider world can hope to benefit from it. The most obvious benefit is knowledge exchange: without some form of communication an event is, in most cases, a waste of time. That communication can be from organiser to delegate, from delegate to delegate or even those at the event communicating to an external audience. Whether it is formal or informal, ideas must be shared, networks must be built and relationships must be developed if an event is to have any form of tangible legacy. Whatever the channel, the ability to share and disseminate content long after an event has finished adds huge value, and creates a significant opportunity to develop a long-term legacy. It might sound cynical, but it’s true: in the commercial world we all need to justify our existence, whether at an individual or organisational level. We all need to demonstrate value to our audiences. When it comes to events, a meaningful positive legacy is crucial, and one we should all be looking to achieve. This is why ABPCO describes itself as “proud to enable human enrichment through face to face gatherings.” “Ask yourself: is your event about the relationships built in the room, or is it about messages and content?” 5