The other day, my friend Steve Densham told me something that really stuck with me. He said that when you break it down, us humans are only motivated by two things: avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. In other words, on some level everything we do is either to avoid getting hurt or to make us feel good. If you start there and look deep enough, you can explain just about any behavior. So when it comes to changing the way people think or behave, this becomes pretty darn important.
It’s human nature to attach ourselves to people, organizations and experiences that make us feel good. We enjoy doing work or play that makes us feel good. We prefer to do business with people and companies we respect and feel good about. We like working for organizations we can feel proud of. More and more, people are investing in companies that feel good to support. We tend to spend our free time with friends and lovers who make us feel good. And if at some point it starts to not feel good anymore, we tend to drift away. Find another job…try a different restaurant or bar…switch girlfriends or boyfriends. Simple stuff, really. So if you want people to buy into something you’re doing–whether it’s selling them a product or experience, recruiting them to a cause, attracting them to apply for a job with you, whatever–you need to make them feel good about it. If you do, they’ll want to join up.
This becomes really important when you’re putting together an event. Because however you measure it, one of the benchmarks for the success of any event is whether people feel like it was a worthwhile way to spend their time or money when it’s over, whether they were attending or hosting or performing or sponsoring. Any time you can incorporate a greater objective into your planning process and ultimately into the event experience, you are adding value for all of the participants and, very often, the community as well. And that’s likely to make them feel good.What have you done or seen that made you feel really good about an event you’ve participated in or helped produce, or just heard about? What are some really good examples of events that have drawn people into something bigger than just the immediate agenda?