It is exactly one month today since the very first #BBBSOCIAL and it has taken that much time for the dust to settle. Hosting the event was a real challenge but it was definitely worth the sleepless nights, the countless to do lists and the stomach churning anxiety. For anyone thinking of doing something similar, here are just some of the things I learned along the way.
Know When To Ask For Help
I had zero experience hosting an event so initially I relied heavily on my limited experience as a guest at blogger events plus all the knowledge I could glean from Google. This unsurprisingly wasn't enough and I found myself coming up against too much I didn't know with time fast running out.
Making the decision to work with an event planner was the best I ever made. This streamlined the whole process and meant I could focus my attention on my strengths. It was also great because just by working with Moments With M Events, I learned a lot about the way things were done which has made me more confident about the whole event planning process.
Pick Wisely Who You Choose To Work With
This covers everyone from sponsors, caterers, speakers to the venue. These are the people you are trusting to help you make your event a success. I was very fortunate that 99% of the people involved were absolute professionals. The 1% *cough* the venue *cough* were so difficult that at one point I was convinced that divine intervention was telling me not to host the event.
Things Will Go Wrong And That's OK
Hindsight is 20:20 and there are many things that I wish I had done differently. During and after the event, I spent far too much time beating myself up over things that went wrong. I have now reached a place where I accept that things can and will go wrong and it is part of the learning process. I would have to be some kind of wizard to get things perfect on the first try.
Be Prepared For Negative Feedback
If you accept that things will go wrong, you also have to accept that attendees will notice and call you out on it. Negative feedback does feel like a boot to the chest and to be honest I did wallow in it for a good week. That being said, I can not stress how valuable it is. The feedback that I have received I can build on. It motivates me to do better the next time and even better after that. If you struggle with dealing with negative feedback, check out this video from the amazing Ronke Lawal.
Make Time For Post-Event Analysis
After the event, all my energy was sapped. All I wanted to do was hole up in a cottage somewhere with my phone off and the biggest pot of Jollof rice. It is tempting to switch off immediately but that first week after the event is the perfect time for follow up emails and post event analysis. The event will still be fresh in your mind and you'll be surprised at the flurry of ideas that will hit you straight after. Power through that week and schedule some serious down time for the week after.
The Black British Community Is Incredibly Supportive
This wasn't exactly a secret to me but I was completely blown away by the amount of people who invested their time and money on our first ever event. It was a risk for the guests and sponsors but everyone came through to make it a really special day. One of the best things about the event has been seeing people continue to support one another afterwards and collaborating on projects. I honestly believe that is the best way forward, moving together as a unit, a community.
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