As part of my new year planning I vowed to attend more events as a guest. If you haven't been to an event as an attendee for a while, I can't recommend it highly enough. Its so easy to think when organising events for a living or speaking/training at them that you know all there is to know. But it is such a worthwhile exercise not least to remind you of why they are such critical engagement tools and what differentiates the great from the not so good. Here's some top tips for a great event, from an attendees perspective: 1. At the welcome desk, welcome your guests, like properly welcome them. As an organiser I understand how rushed and stressful that bit can be and if guests are queueing out the door you want to just get them in as soon as possible but this is where first impressions really count. Guests might be alone, feeling vulnerable and a welcome smile and personalised hello and thank you for coming goes a really long way! Remember as an organiser you might be feeling stressed but your guests might be feeling apprehensive and it can be nerve wracking turning up to these things alone. 2. At the pre-drinks/networking sessions, work the room and have your staff/volunteers work the room and talk to everyone. I have been to events where the organisers are all stood together in a little cluster chatting about wine and nibbles whilst guests stand alone. This can be a really excruciating bit of an event as a guest. Make it easy and pleasurable for guests. Introduce solo guests to other solo guests. Takes 1 minute of your time but would be really welcomed. 3. Have your running order/agenda visible on screens or on tables/chairs/in a programme/on display and clearly outline who the speakers are and how they can be contacted. Include twitter handles or website addresses so if a guest is interested in following up with a speaker afterwards they can. Takes little time from an organisers point of view but will add huge value to an attendee. 4. If you're doing delegate badges, make them readable! Otherwise don't bother. Staring at tiny print on a badge no bigger than a little matchbox is weird and makes guests feel super uncomfortable. 5. A lot of people will go to events primarily to network, so give them time and space to do this. Drinks and nibbles are nice but actually its the conversations people have that will be remembered so finding ways to facilitate that is key.