Updated: May 10
A lot of us are making a fresh start right now, and there are lot's of common things we are trying to achieve, like trying to get more attention in our work, to stand out from the crowd even more, make a greater impression, and have a deeper connection over longer periods of time - with our audiences, and, within our teams. But while we might be aiming to offer more, it turns out the solution might be in focusing on a lot less.
How to find what matters the most?
Doing 'more with less' is a nice idea, but to help us find where to focus, a thing called the 80:20 principle is a good rule to live by (that 80% of the effect of anything comes from 20% of the causes). This rings true in many parts of life, and especially with the experiences we provide, in that most of the impact of any event, comes from a small part of the experience. In fact you could say that 80 percent of the impact of the event will come from 20 percent of the experience. So, the good news is that you can achieve more by focusing on a lot less. The trick is, finding the moments that matter more.
If you think back to an experience you had recently, it's likely you will only recall and rate it on a few pivotal moments, or if you talk to someone about an event, they will probably talk a lot about just few parts of the experience that they had.
Where are the moments that matter?
Start at the starts
In writing my new book, I’ve been looking at the moments in an event that matter the most, and a highly influential moment that keeps coming out - is the start of something. That's because the power of a start shows up in many ways and influences people in more ways than we might realise.
So here are a few reasons you might want to use starts more often.
6 places to start
1. Start well to go well
When we start a new event, or launch it each time, we expect a spike in interest and registrations, because the start of something should always get people’s attention, and trigger some immediate action.
We also should see spikes when we introduce something new within a campaign or at the event, because we know people like new things, new experiences to do, and new things to talk about.
But also, if these new starts and new things don’t start well, we know that trend is likely to continue, in that if it doesn't start well, it's not going to end well. And so the influence of starts is amplified and makes each start you make even more important.
2. First impressions do count
It’s a cliché, but it’s true. We’ve all experienced it, because if you think back to a poor first impression you’ve had, it’s likely that it has stayed with you. And that’s because there’s evidence from psychology that shows us that the first impressions we have of an experience frame everything that follows.
And so, with the experiences you provide you need to start strongly. Because matter what you do after the start, what happens first will place a shadow on everything afterwards.
3. Starts get people’s attention
Quite often with an event, it's that starting moment, the start of the match, the kickoff, the first serve, or everyone at the start line, whatever the start is, it is THE heightened moment that we actually have everyone’s attention - and sometimes it's the only moment that we do!
So making the most of this moment is a very important thing to do. It is well worth investing your time and resources into these starts, because this small window of opportunity can often give you a lot more return on your investment of that time and energy.
4. A clean start of the best way to change something
So many of us are trying to change people’s behaviour or attitudes, whether it be with our audiences or our team behind the scenes.
And most often, the best way to change something is to appear to not be changing anything.
By that I mean, if you position something as something new, it’s not compared with something, and so it’s not seen as a change.
And if we can avoid something being seen as a change, we avoid a whole lot of resistance and unhelpful comparisons.
So sometimes a fresh start, just starting again, is the best way to get things going.
5. People use starts in their lives
You may also find value in starts, not by the ones you create, but by the ones that pop up in people’s lives. ‘Temporal landmarks’, like a New Year, or a new week, or a birthday, are all either consciously or unconsciously used by people to look to start something new.
Searches for gym memberships, events and all sorts of things go up on a New Year’s Day (and even attendance at gyms goes up at the start of a new week).
It’s the same behind the scenes, a new project, or a new job all bring a sense of energy and enthusiasm.
So it’s worth looking to see what starts your people are going through to see what you might be able to springboard off. The new year, a new season, the end of a lockdown, or isolation, all might be providing fresh starts for your people. And if you can help them make that new start in a good way, it's going to be good for them and for you.
6. And then, when the fresh start fades, offer new starts
The problem with something new is that it’s not always new for long. The novelty wears off, and the motivation to do it fades. Which is especially a problem with events, as the attraction of an event must be that it is 'an event', it must feels like it is new, novel, or a special occasion. But when that novelty fades, so does the attendance and engagement.
So this is when introducing new starts is important, and the thing like 'optimal newness', where we keep introducing even small, but significant new things, will have a significant effect on whether people want to keep doing it.
And so by starting, and starting something else, again, and again, you can keep people signing up and showing up again and again.
When we look at the data around our events we see a spike in engagement and registrations at the launch, and when people are first exposed to something new.
The start of a new season, a new campaign, a new announcement, or the start of the activity itself, these starts provide heightened moments - and some critical momentum.
Time to start again?
So you might be OK staying the same, but if you want to start something new, find some new starts - or make a fresh start yourself - please just let me know - because we can all use the power of some new starts right now.
Email me or call at any time!
Tools you can use!
Finding new starts
We use Journey mapping to find our starts, and make the most of them! Let me know if you want to explore this in the design (or redesign) of your events, programs, campaigns or sessions.
Journey mapping is a simple but very effective exercise to design (or redesign) your experiences, creating a real-life journey for your participants, and a plan for your team to deliver.
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