An event horizon is a boundary in space-time where anything that happens on one side cannot have an effect on an observer on the other side. Neither light nor matter can cross the boundary, so anything that happens on one side of the event horizon can’t be observed by someone on the other side.
A well planned event seems to have the same type of barrier. On one side is all of the work that had gone into the event and all of the problems that occurred during the event, on the other side are all of the attendees, blissfully unaware of anything but the event itself.
Here’s hoping that a few months of meetings, speaker wrangling, and any technical problems will be firmly situated on one side of the event planning horizon, and the event I’ve been planning since December will be on the other. Today, speakers from the nonprofit and for profit world will be coming together at the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Central Branch for an event aimed at Baltimore-area nonprofits that are looking to improve the social media presence. The event is called Web 2.0 and Nonprofits and is going to highlight different social media resources that nonprofits can use to more effectively communicate with their clients, their supporters, and their volunteers. Speakers from the for profit world are going to be talking about advertising and fundraising, turning bad customer experiences into great customer experiences, and the portability of networks. Nonprofit speakers will talk about how their organizations use different social media platforms to expand the reach of their organizations.
In addition to the speakers, there’s going to be a long break in the middle of the event designed to give the people in attendance a chance to build their networks. This is the part of the event that I’m most anxious about, and for multiple reasons. First, networking is a weak point of mine. On a one-to-one basis – if I go to someone else’s networking event – I do just fine. I’ve never had to facilitate this kind of event, though. The closest thing I’ve done is a large dinner party with people who had never met each other. Trying to get the groups of people talking to each other instead of having them stay in their comfort zones was excruciating at times. I want people to start talking to each other about how to make Baltimore a better place, though, and I think getting nonprofit leaders in a room and getting them to start talking to each other is a good place to start.
I’m also a bit anxious because this is the first professional event I’ve ever started from scratch. I’ve planned events with people, and let me tell you, cooking and entertaining eighteen people is a lot of work, but I can’t really talk about cooking a Turducken in a job interview, and it doesn’t really make me more of an asset to the place I go to when my service year is over.
I’m really looking forward to today’s event. I’ll drop in an update either later today or tomorrow morning to tell about how it went.
UPDATE: The good news is that the event planning horizon was not breached. The GREAT news is that the event was a smashing success! Thanks to the hard work and knowledge of everyone involved. The event was a great great success.