Mary Ann, Brian, Hunter and I wrapped up yet another successful event for the Ford Airport nearly two weeks ago. This time, the Ford Airport team broke ground on a new operations center that will relocate and enhance the current facility, which essentially serves as the Airport’s lifeline. Cool stuff, I know.
Funnily enough, around this time last year, we supported a groundbreaking for the Federal Inspection Station, which will eventually allow for direct international travel at the Airport. Back then, however, we were in the middle of the pandemic and had dozens of items to address on top of our regular to-dos. I’m hopeful we never have to reference our COVID-19 checklist again.
Now having a handful of press conferences under my belt, there are a few consistent key interactions I’ve found make all the difference for everyone involved — speakers, team members, guests, vendors and the media. Here are four of those touchpoints that will elevate everyone’s experience at your next press conference:
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
While it may feel like over kill at times, make sure everyone involved with planning for this event is on exactly the same page. If that means weekly meetings to go over to-do lists and responsibilities or daily briefings, make it happen. This will pay off in the long run and set procedures and standards in place that will help make planning for future events significantly less nerve-racking. For the latest groundbreaking, the SPR team visited the construction/event site twice leading up to the press conference, making sure nothing was left unaddressed.
Arrive at the event well in advance
Whether you’re putting stickers on bags of popcorn, fixing a tent issue or making follow-up calls to the media, getting to the event a couple hours early allows you to make sure you have everything ready to go and deal with any last-minute issues without needing to scramble. Arriving early also means you have the opportunity to ensure everything looks great, which will keep you on brand and your photographer happy.
Practice talking points ahead of time
Everyone is busy and it can be difficult to make time to practice comments with speakers prior to an event. However, missing this step can put your clients in a less than ideal situation — whether they realize it or not. People attend events all the time, so you want to make sure your clients are speaking well and are memorable for the right reasons. Practicing, even if just read through a couple times the morning of, will help make the event that much more crisp and professional.
Make sure the media have everything they need
These days, reporters are juggling several jobs at once and may not have all the support they need. Help them out (and, in turn, yourself) by greeting them at the door and showing them where they are invited to sit, set up their gear and/or hook up to the mult box. Providing a physical copy of the accompanying press release is also helpful, especially for those live-tweeting about your event. Connecting reporters with the right contacts is also a great way to establish a good relationship. Lastly, following up with a Dropbox folder containing a copy of the press release, photos, video footage and any other resources will help get you spectacular and on-brand coverage.
Planning and executing successful events can be stressful, especially when you don’t do them often enough that it becomes second nature. However, taking the time for these touchpoints will go a long way.