Punctuate the End of Your Event!
If you were attending an event, which ending would you prefer?
- “Is the event over?”
- “That was fun. I’m ready to leave.”
- “Wow, what a great event! I can’t believe it’s already over!”
Without a show of hands, I strongly suspect you prefer the ‘Wow!’ response. Most guests want to leave an event feeling good about their participation (as well as the investment of time and money to be there). Further, they want to know the event is over.
How do event planners achieve this? We create a strong closing. In other words, we punctuate the event with an exclamation point!
For example, I had the pleasure of co-producing two high-profile memorial events in Washington, DC last week. One event was a celebration dinner at DAR Continental Hall; the other was a funeral service the next morning at Arlington National Cemetery (see photo). The original dinner plan was cocktails, welcome remarks and seated dinner. It’s a common event formula … but there’s no closure. So we modified the program to include a heart-felt toast by our client’s son followed by Amazing Grace song by her grandchildren just after dessert was dropped and the champagne was poured. These elements gave the event more structure and closure, which adds up to the punctuation at the end of the event!
Other examples of ending an event with an exclamation point (!) include:
- Singing “Happy Birthday” and blowing out the candles
- Cutting the wedding cake
- Announcing the recipient of the most coveted award
- Closing ceremony or keynote speaker
- Exploding fireworks finale
- Dancing to the last song of the night
- Leaving a small gift (goodie bag) on the seat when valet returns the car
- Thanking guests for their attendance. Hosts, leadership, executive management, etc. should be stationed by the exit. It becomes a receiving line of sorts but it really makes a difference on how guests leave.
So as your planning your event, consider how you want your guests to leave as much as how you want them to arrive. Punctuate the ending it with an exclamation point!
How do you create a ‘Wow!’ closing when guests leave your event? What difference does it make? Please leave a comment to let me know.