Here in America, we are surrounded by a culture of “bigger is better.” A Big Mac is better than a regular hamburger. A mansion is better than a split-level. And a 5,000-person event is better than a 500-person one… right?
Size implies status, which implies success, so you’re likely to assume that a 5,000-person event is just a more successful version of a 500-person event. However, if you’re the organizer of a 500-person event, you actually want to keep the meeting small. Here’s why:
People typically attend events for two reasons: content and connections. If an attendee wants strictly content, then bigger often is better, because bigger events have bigger budgets and can therefore attract more “headline” speakers and put together more robust schedules. However, if an attendee is looking for a combination of content and connections, and especially if their priority is networking, a smaller meeting will probably be the better bet. At a smaller meeting, learning can be more participative, with content shared among speakers and attendees alike, while the intimacy of a smaller conference fosters more organic interaction and connections.
In summary, big events have their place, but small events do, too. That’s why it’s important to know what your attendees want out of your meeting. Growth can be good, but, depending on the wants and needs of your attendees, exclusivity can be even better!