People say there’s no better teacher than experience, but the lesson can’t fully be understood without first putting the story into context.
Reports contain a wealth of valuable information but understanding the big picture is the job of a comprehensive after-event case study. The self-examination a case study provides helps identify the subtler trends, queues and missteps that occurred during the planning and execution of an event, allowing you to address them long before they can become problems at future events. It also provides you with the opportunity to capitalize on areas of your plan with the potential to increase your success rate and prove your success.
Of course, you want to create a case study that details the event, but you also want to create a document that engages its readers. If you are unsure how to get started telling your event’s story, don’t stress, just concentrate on these five important writing rules and you’ll create a complete accounting of your event, as well a great story.
Tell a Good Story
It’s important to identify any fault lines running through your event’s plan, but no one wants to be inundated with negativity. Create a story that allows people to get excited about the high points as they learn about any issues that arose.
Thoughtful use of phrasing is your weapon here—after all, it’s your chance to make your work look its best—but you don’t want to lie or slant the information unfairly. Always tell the tale from a place of neutral acceptance, rather than adding unnecessary dramatic flair or overenthusiastic compliments. If you load up your narrative with too much emotion it diminishes the validity of your reporting.
Three Plot Structure
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Case studies are plotted the exact same way, with an overview of the event at the beginning, a step-by-step accounting of the entire process filling in the middle, and the results of your work as your conclusion.
Begin by with an explanation of your mission statement, describe your target audience and state your goals. Next, list the strategies and tactics you based on to decide on a theme and program and provide specific information about the reason you chose your vendors. Detail the happenings at the event, with specifics on what was experienced throughout the evening, leading the reader through to the night’s conclusion, then conclude with the results, whether it be in donations, attendance or something else of importance to your organization. If you’ve proven the event was a success; declare it. If the event failed to meet your expectations, provide suggested solutions to the problems you’ve identified in your case study.
Details, Details, Details
You’ve got the basics covered, now it’s time to fill in your case study with interesting details that reveal how the whole event came together. Throughout the case study pull out specific details that aided or hindered the success of the night. Record the highs and lows experienced from set up, to tear down. Call out stand-out team players and service providers that either aided or hampered the activities. Adding as much detail as possible to your case study archives the secrets of your success for future planning.
Deepening the Sensory Experience
Incorporating audio/visual experiences into case studies saved online offers yet another view with new perspectives for future readers. Let readers experience the event through photos, recordings and videos so they can see and hear for themselves what you witnessed. This provides another layer of connection for the readers of your case study and acts as a third leg to prop up your arguments when you want to redirect your efforts or ask for a larger budget.
Instruct your team to use their mobile phones throughout the night to record everything they find interesting, difficult or exciting about the evening. When putting your case study together search for additional footage from attendees through the hashtag you generated for event night to get your attendees perspective, as well.
Seek Out Testimonials from Attendees and Sponsors
Nothing speaks louder than the accolades of your community. Ask for quotes from your sponsors and guests and add them into breakout boxes to increase visual interest in your case study. Look for quotes that back up the information you’ve gleaned from your reporting and place it in the document next to that specific information.
Focus your questions on different portions of the night’s program. Ask your guests and sponsors questions such as whether the theme reflect the mission of the organization? Did the sponsors feel as though they were represented properly? Was the entertainment a compliment to the organization’s mission?
A comprehensive case study is a multipurpose record of your work. It provides the insight you require for future planning, it records your ability to do the job and acts as an argument for the importance of your event. Investing time into crafting a well-considered case study is the best way to ensure that you and your efforts are represented in the best way possible.