First impressions matter! How often did you hear that growing up? “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” I was always told. Your event is no different.

When your guests walk up to the door what is their first impression? Do they know where registration is? Do they know where the VIP reception is? Where do they find the silent auction?

Would you like to blow your clients away? If your organization serves youth through their school, mentoring or similar services, why not have some of those youth greeting at the door? I was recently working an event and at each door were a pair of greeters--one youth and one adult. Every guest was welcomed and provided directions about the room layout. In long hallways there were relay greeters. I watched as the attendees lit up when they were greeted at each step. Every guest was reminded from the moment they arrived to the event about why they were there. Wow!

No youth? Who is your organization serving? Humane society? Have animals available for adoption with handlers at the entrance of the event. Your organization doesn’t want (or can’t have) your recipients on hand? Then have photos of those you help along the hallways as the attendees walk in the door. One school we work with lined their hallways with three foot photos of children from the school.

If you prefer a different approach, consider hiring actors consistent with your event theme to entertain guests walking in the door. Have you thought of strolling musicians? Music can set the mood at the get-go. 

Or, go the traditional route and have your organization leadership—staff and board-- at the door. The personal greeting from an organizational leader thanking your attendees can have real impact—especially if the person greets them by name.

Do not overlook these first impressions at your event. You only get one chance to make that first impression!