The Anatomy of a Perfect Event


Anyone who knows me, knows that I think that everything should be as simple as it can be. In the meetings and events world, complexity is the kissing cousin of failure. Don’t think that is true? Just ask Vladimir Putin… I seem to remember some really amazingly complex snowflake contraption screwing up the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

Not wanting to go to the Gulag, I tend to shy away from HUGE, complex thingies that tend to break because they have become so bloated that they suck the air right out of success. Event registration systems that try and hook you up with hotels, CRM systems that swear they can be event registration systems, and accounting systems that want to call your Grandma when you make a deposit are all examples of poorly executed complexity (there are exceptions to the rule of course, but for the most part, it is true).

Simplicity is one of the reasons that I have used Formstack for years. They do forms. Forms that you can share with a link, forms that you can embed on a website, forms that can be reached via a QR code. Simple. They do forms, hence the name, Formstack. They do not try to wash my dishes, cut my hair, hook me up with meeting space, or pay my bills while balancing on a unicycle… Simple. Simple is good.

Because their product works, I regularly use it for polls, some simple event registration, questionnaires, and more. They have a really good solution that I like. And before you ask, I am not getting any cash, bling, or favors for this post. I would not even know what to do with Formstack bling.

Here is a way that I used Formstack just a couple of weeks ago… 

Client emails in a panic, it is one week before their event and they are moving from a buffet to a plated dinner. Sounds lovely… until you realize that it is for 100 people and they have no idea who would prefer fish or chicken, vegan or vegetarian. Could be a mess. Will be a mess unless we move pretty quick.

In walks Formstack. In about 10 minutes I created a new page on the event website, opened up Formstack, created the necessary form with the dining options, embedded it on the page, and emailed a link to all of the attendees. Bam.. the results were pouring in and I was able to download them via spreadsheet and send them to the venue. Easy. Simple. No longer a crisis and one step closer to a perfect event.

Because I am a Formstack fan, I was intrigued when I received a note from their PR folks asking if I would like to share an infographic they had created. Why yes, I would like to share it…because it is a good infographic. As an added bonus, it is also a great example of content marketing which we are always preaching… you can learn a little on two fronts… but I digress.

The name of the infographic that I would be sharing took me by surprise, “The Anatomy of a Perfect Event”. What could a company that specializes in forms tell me (us) about the anatomy of a perfect event because truthfully, their perfect event is probably not what a meeting or event planner would consider perfect. So I had a little read.

My first reaction is “kudos to them for aiming high” because this infographic is really good, but it really needs a new name… I think that this infographic should be renamed, “Using Communication and Connection as Part of the Perfect Event Strategy“… that would be a winning title.

My fear is that many meeting/event planner types will poo-poo this infographic because of the name /content mismatch but you are better than that and will resist that urge. We know (from experience) that a whole heck of other stuff goes into a perfect event. There is content /speaker selection, venue selection, staffing, registration, food / beverage, audio/visual, transportation, layout, attendee participation, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc… Hell, the distance from door to dining is something that can screw up a perfect score.

Because the fine folks at Formstack don’t know event planning, they know online forms, we will cut them some slack and take this infographic for what it is… good stuff about connecting with attendees…


Formstack event infographic

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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