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Today once again an association is the centerpiece of our blog. We have Monica Tranchych, the event manager of a special foundation. She tells us about her tasks at the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg and how an event app makes it easier for her to work at events while at the same time making the participants shine. We hope you enjoy reading it. ?
LineUpr: Hello Monica. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and Theodor-Hess-Kolleg. What are your goals and what role do events play in achieving them?
Monica: My name is Monica Tranchych and since 2017 I am responsible for event design and logistics as well as internal processes at the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg.
Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg is a program from the Robert Bosch Stiftung and MitOst association created and sustained to shape civil society with methods of non-formal education. Around 20 programs in various Eastern European and North African countries are dedicated to providing space for personal development, the opportunity for civic engagement and participation for over 1000 participants annually. THK has an international network of 70 local program coordinators and 200 professional facilitators who constitute cooperation between locally embedded, highly qualified actors and organizations.
LineUpr: How much time and work do you spend, on average, on the planning of an event?
Monica: The time and effort depending on the scale of the event. The largest annual happening on our side gathers around 80 people from 18 countries that come together for 4-5 days. The preparation of logistics takes about three months, but such types of events require a holistic approach which includes not only the logistical organization but also a particular kind of hosting. Knowing that creative solutions come from connections, our events are usually organized in cooperation with partner organizations which are rooted in local context. Such constellations allow us to cooperate on the peer-to-peer level, to understand the local culture and to infuse local flavor. This means a lot of effort, which is probably not quantitatively measurable, assures the event quality.
LineUpr: What makes your event special? What added value do you offer the participants?
Monica: The holistic approach and the Art of Hosting as a part of it. This is an approach to leadership that scales up from the personal to the systemic use of collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity of groups of any size. Such methods are also relevant for events and it is about being a host, who creates a safe space for conversion processes between guests. Ideally, those who are hosted can grow, work and network, and create and celebrate in offered hosting frames, which can be influenced by them as well.
Any physical space has the potential to become an inspiring one. The details are the key. Content is the soul of course, but the “physical body” is also crucial. We are trying to be courageous in the way we choose our spaces and formats. Sometimes the best outcomes come from eclectic combinations. Proper hosting starts from the very first personal communication about the event. We want to know our participants. We want to understand their needs and their personalities. What matters to them, where they come from and what are they looking for. We support each one of them through their travels as well.
For me, an event is a process, not a mere happening. I try to think about the preconditions as well as long-term outcomes when planning each meeting. It motivates and ensures the holism of every event.
LineUpr: Who is the usual target audience of your events and how do you reach them?
Monica: Our target group consists of members of our network. We accompany our fellows, alumni, facilitators, and coordinators over the years through different channels and networking possibilities. It means they already know us and it ensures direct and close relations as well as communication. Talking about instruments, we mostly use social media, emails groups, and several applications to connect with them and provide as much compressed and organized information as possible. Language and design are also valuable tools.
LineUpr: Do you also use print products? If so, why?
Monica: Yes, we do but for good reasons only. Handouts are always printed as participants use them during the meeting. We print name tags because our network is continually growing and such tools help us to remember all of the members. We used to print evaluation forms, descriptions of activities, navigation for the spot as well as programs. Those elements have radically decreased after we started using LineUpr. What we appreciate in the app is this immediate feedback option. It allows us to keep our agenda flexible and responsive to needs.
LineUpr: You have used LineUpr for multiple events. What was the reason for you to use an event app?
Monica: I first encountered the work with LineUpr from our colleagues at the BMW Foundation as we co-organised one of the events. I fell in love with its efficiency.
LineUpr ensures real efficiency in communication between the participants it saves both materials required and time. The app is very well structured and intuitive in navigating. As previously mentioned the feedback feature was also crucial for us. It allows instant exchange between the participants and us both for content and logistics in one place ensuring privacy and saving time during the sessions. Additionally, the design is very aesthetic and clean.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during and after the event?
Monica: Before the event started, the app helped us to provide a platform for participants where they could learn about other attendees, their fields of work and programs. They were connected before they even met in person. The program schedule was updated on a regular basis and our participants could follow all changes. We informed them about the location of our meeting, about its history and cultural context, to ensure the connection to the place helped a lot to facilitate the expectations. During the event, it served as an excellent platform for instant news, enabling get-togethers.
As people who were present at the meeting usually attend our other events it is convenient to be able to try out new communication tools. We launched the app around one month before the event started and every participant received an introduction to its usage via a personal email. We used the whole package of functions in the premium profile.
LineUpr: How did your guests respond to the app?
Monica: We received fantastic feedback about it. I believe the participants could have taken better advantage of it, but as our group is very diverse in age, for some of them, it was a challenge.
LineUpr: We want to grow daily and provide our customers with a better experience. What features would you recommend for the app, and why?
Monica: It would be great if the participants could register for the event in the app in advance using an application form option.
It was also tricky that only the persons with access to the app could write posts. It would make a difference if people could interactively communicate.
LineUpr: Final question. The ultimate tip for newcomers to the event industry!
Monica: Care about people. Make it the core of your actions and decisions. It covers every failure.
LineUpr: Thank you, Monica, for the great interview. Your insights into the work and goals of the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg are amazing.
We look forward to your next events and to how we can support them with LineUpr.