As a Republican attending my first Democratic National Convention, my experience being in the hall was very much different than watching it on TV. The ambiance of the entire week culminated in one single moment. The pageantry, participation and execution were brilliant, and we know that was the result of hard work by teams of people behind the scenes making it look effortless.
In PR, events of all sizes and scale are a regular part of our lives. I was inspired by this expertise and I was reminded that whether it’s a press briefing, Capitol Hill event, or fundraising gala, there are a few key lessons that can make your event just as memorable as the DNC.
Did you notice that in between the speeches the podium magically appeared at just the right time and at just the right height? The balloons dropped precisely at the reigning moment, the camera moved precisely with the speaker, and the lighting brought a vibrant feel to the space. Making those details work together is only possible with a highly collaborative team that is anticipating each moment.
Speakers, videos, musical performances, and signs repeated and reinforced the campaign themes, ensuring enthusiastic reception and maximum impact. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the packed arena, sometimes I found it hard to focus. But strong visuals and directive cues helped delegates and supporters understand the message, know what to anticipate, and sense exactly when to cheer wildly.
Bring people together.
The agenda consisted of a speaker and content lineup that appealed to a range of demographics and perspectives, and even included opposition. Elaborate, coordinated and colorful outfits and musical numbers all bring to life a vibrant energy, engaging the audience much more deeply than just having them listen to speech after speech. Consider all perspectives on your issue, and enlist speakers that will help unite people and find common ground.
My favorite part of the convention was the fireworks! I loved them. Theatrical tricks can bring the audience together and celebrate a momentous occasion and a job well done.