Attendees come in all shapes and sizes. Some are wonderful; great assets to your event whose very presence makes everything work a little smoother and come off a little better. Others are a drag to everything, causing problems and bottlenecks that need to be solved.
Very few attendees are either all good or all bad, however – they all bring with them their own characteristics and behaviors, some of them positive, and some negative. Learning to adapt to their needs, taking advantage of what you can and mitigating problems before they start is key to pulling off a spectacular event. Here are a few of the most common attendee archetypes to watch out for.
Enthusiastic guests are great! They’re eager to network and make connections, and help keep the wheels of your event spinning. On the other hand, some attendees are over-enthusiastic. Engagement is great, and these people can be counted on to engage with you over social media before the event even begins. They’re also the type, however, to hog the mike at open forums and try to weasel in to meet VIPs – that networking bug again. They want to network their way right to the top of the ladder all in one go.
The exact opposite of the above, the under-enthusiastic guest can be a major drag on the energy level of your event. Maybe they’ve come because they were forced to, or maybe they’re trying to avoid their general daily responsibilities, but the under-enthusiastic aren’t there to express any interest in your event itself. These are often the toughest guests to deal with, as they’ll mentally check out long before your event ends – and often will physically check out too, unless there’s an open buffet or cocktail bar to hang out at.
An event can be a stressful time, even if you’re just attending and not running it! You’ve all seen the high-strung attendees: trying to do ten tasks at once and keep up their normal workload despite being at your event, always on the phone with an urgent call, juggling e-mails and meetings. These attendees are often the most stressed in your event, regretting leaving their desk because they have so much to do. Realize that these guests are often exhausted and are faster to snap at you when something goes poorly, and treat them with a little extra dollop of patience as you try to keep her calm when something inevitably goes wrong.