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Jed HammelDec 26, 2022 11:45:00 AM3 min read

5 Tips for Planning an Event that Guests Will Praise Afterwards - WIFNE Event Recap

A handful of team members from The Video Garage recently attended and sponsored the Women In Film & Video New England (WIFVNE) annual meeting (TVG is sponsor of WIFVNE) at GBH's headquarters in Boston. We admire the many trailblazers in the WIFVNE community and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with new and familiar faces. 

As an attendee and former professional event planner, I have a pretty high standard for what elements make up a great event. Cutting to the chase: The thoughtfully planned event was a lot of fun, and it featured an environment of effective networking, interesting speakers, and new WIFVNE swag!

As a rule of thumb, I try my best to always be on the lookout for new ways of engaging and connecting with colleagues at events. Often, the best way to learn how to host a successful networking event is to attend some and reflect on the elements that were enjoyable.  I recently came across an event recap article that expressed similar sentiments to my own written by a Boston events/networking/business-community leader, Bobbie Carlton. 

Carlton's spot-on article, entitled, "You had no right to be so good, WIFVNE"  highlighted a number of strong points that anyone planning an event should consider.

Below are a few key points intended to serve as suggestions for planning your next event:

Balancing the "Run of Show"

The event planners clearly gave thought toward balancing the time allotted for casual/natural networking, connecting with vendors, networking facilitated by the planning team, a few fun breaks for raffles and such, and time for the presenters/speakers. 

Depending on your goals, these are all great elements to include in an event, but too much or too little can create a less than ideal experience for guests.

Facilitating Networking

Most participants have a lot to offer their community (and vice-versa), but they may not have the networking tools, experience, or comfort-level to "get out there." As a result, many event organizers don't take the time to find ways to help those who aren't natural networkers to connect in this setting. 

Notably, in the case of this event, one of the event leaders asked for a show of hands from everyone at the event for different roles they represented in film and video production.

This type of support is pretty simple and much needed, but not a practice at a lot of the events I've attended. Just having a short facilitation exercise by an event leader to get networking going can make a huge positive difference for many and helps amp up the energy in the room overall.

Event Theme/Guest Participation

Having a theme that people can connect with on a personal level (or just have fun with) is an easy way to make your event more memorable for your guests. Whether it's handing out glow sticks or having a color-themed "dress code," participating in a low-key group experience can really differentiate your event from others.

Offering features such as a "step and repeat" photo booth, a raffle, gift bags, or some sort of trivia contest designed to have guests collaborate facilitates a rich event experience. At the WIFVNE event, there was a step and repeat photo area, a fun raffle, a pink-themed "dress code", and a goodie bag that is now my new gym bag!

Sense of Community and Support

This element is hard to quantify and even harder to create in a large community, but we all know it when we feel it--a sense of community and support, that is. Generally speaking, creating a sense of community and support starts from the top down (from the leaders of the community and/or the organizers of the event), and it takes time, energy, authenticity, patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, and consistent hard work to create. 

From a basic "gut check" level, the folks I met at this event were welcoming, supportive, engaged, interesting, and had a lot to offer the community.

Overall, the event was fun, it provided a number of networking exchanges, and was a platform for gaining knowledge on a variety of film and video industry topics.

Thanks to the WIFVNE team and community and best of luck to those looking to level up their events in the future!


As always, if there is anything that The Video Garage can do to help your organization when it comes to video, audio, photography, or beyond, please click here to reach out!



Jed Hammel

Chief Culture Officer, still trying to make "Fetch" happen.