The Power of People + 5 Tips on Staffing Events

We all know that there are many elements that come together to make a great event, but surprisingly many event planners fail to neglect the power that people can have on your entire event – both good or bad.
A core objective of every conference, event or tradeshow is for businesses to showcase the very best version of themselves - to their key stakeholders and customers. It’s like meeting The Parents for the first time, we present the very best version of ourselves. And you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
From the moment a delegate, consumer or guests arrives at your event they are going to want to be impressed and as the company hosting the event, you are going to want to put your absolute best on show. 
And it’s for this reason alone that we think it’s important to discuss the power of people at events. 
It can take one person to present a less than satisfactory experience to a guest – by either not knowing what they are doing, not looking presentable or not being helpful and polite. Likewise, it can take one well trained, well-briefed person to turn any situation (good or bad) into a great experience and represent a business at it’s very best. 

To find out more on how you can use people to create exceptional event experiences, we caught up with Neil Burton, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Mash Marketing, a company that specialises in providing brand ambassadors for events. 
To Neil, the staffing of conferences and events is critical. 

A guests’ first experience on event day is generally registration or ticket scanning, manned by ‘Ambassadors’ wearing a branded uniform, representing the business at the very first interaction point with the consumer.
Once inside, the delegate is directed through the event by yet more Ambassadors of the business. They’re scanning sessions as you pass between breakout areas, filling seats in auditoriums so you can squeeze in as many delegates as possible, they’re ushering delegates between speaker presentations, they’re manning information desks and managing concierge services.
Neil states, “You can’t expect to present the company’s best self, with iconic venues, inspirational speakers, extravagant stage production and networking parties but then hope the delegate gives you a pass on the ‘people’ experience.”
Neil and his team started off in the experiential market, sourcing staff for brands at consumer events and activations. Over the last couple of years, they have dived into the conference and event industry, working recently on large-scale conferences like Salesforce World Tour, Xerconn, Amazon World Summit, Cisco, Cebit and YouTube Brandcast.
The reason his team have been so successful at these events is they understand they are there to represent the company hosting the event. They are an extension of the business’ own core team and they work hard to represent the company’s values - even if it’s only for a day.
So, how do you ensure that the staff you employ to help with registration, navigation, concierge, session scanning and information desks at your event are the type of people that will make a guest’s experience amazing? 
Neil shares with us five staffing tips to help you get the people element of your event working perfectly:

1. Don’t leave booking staff to the last minute

Don’t wait until your budgets are set to lock in the people element of your event, as you can tinker with staff numbers right up to the day before. This is important because you need to ensure you get access to the right people - people who work at conferences regularly and who know what delegates AND conference organisers want from the event. 

At Mash, we have a core team of staff that have been with us a long time and we have an excellent training and onboarding process for when we need to expand our portfolio for really big events. 

2. Let your staffing partner manage the staff, so you can focus on everything else 

At Mash we consider ourselves event “partners” with the Organisers and are onsite to manage the people we put in place. We also ensure there is a dedicated ‘Leader’ to every 30 people we have onsite. People need strong leadership to excel.

3. Start the briefing process early and be specific  

Do not leave the staff briefing to the event day – there is never enough time! 

We recommend you start the filtering information to the staff at least one week prior. We do this so that our people feel like a critical part of the event. 

Try to keep the information concise and relevant to the role that the staff member will be fulfilling.  We also recommend bespoke briefs are created for each people component (aka role).

4. Get the staff into venue the day before  

By getting staff into the venue the day before they are better able to understand the space and it gives them plenty of time to ask questions. There is never enough time to properly brief staff on the morning of the event, so get on the front foot and be prepared. 

5. Say thank you and lead with positive reinforcement  

This is a personal passion point of ours.  With over 8 years’ experience and delivering in excess of 600 events, we believe that people respond positively to gratitude and empathy.  This will make a great staff member work even harder and will even make the weakest member of the team improve.

Final note…

Neil adds, “we know that budgets are capped and that there are so many elements to balance when planning events, that quite often the people component is left until the end – where budgets are very thin. But there are still ways to excel, and that’s where we love to advise clients. The people component of your event is so malleable, in the lead up to and on the day and that’s where we come in".

Want to give your guests a great experience at your next event? Then make sure you touch base with Mash Marketing via their website or their Event Birdie page.

High Profile Event Staffing

Staffing for large conferences