The Olympic Games is full of tradition and symbolism. Tradition, symbolism and rituals turn an audience into a tribe. Like a secret handshake, they connect participants more deeply by creating a bond between them.
Although the Olympics are the champions in this aspect, you can build traditions into your event and create this bond with your audience on a smaller scale. If you are successful, your events will see more repeat attendees, better relationships between your attendees and your audience will grow beyond your expectations. Let’s look at how the Olympic Games use symbols, tradition and rituals and then what you can do with your seminars.
The colors of the Olympic rings are represented in the flag of every nation. At the Olympic sites, slogans like Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) take you back to the Greek roots of the Games.
The Olympic flame is lit at Olympia in Greece, brought into the Olympic stadium and lights the cauldron at the Opening Ceremonies. The flame is not allowed to be extinguished on its journey from Greece until the Closing ceremonies.
Athletes and officials take an oath to abide by the rules that govern their sport and the spirit of sportsmanship. (Unfortunately there are always some athletes that break the oath through doping, but that is a topic for another day.)
The thing with traditions is that they grow over time. Obviously, you won’t establish a tradition from one seminar. However, you can lay the groundwork from your very first event. Insert some elements and gauge the response they get. If they resonate with your audience, you can keep them and they will become a tradition after a few events.
How can you insert some tradition into your event?
One of your “things” can be your one-of-a-kind callback from the stage. A callback serves to keep your audience focused and engaged. When you find your unique callback that resonates with your audience, it becomes something that you become known for. Your audience will identify with it and it can become part of your brand. (If it does, protect it fiercely, like the Olympics does with its rings.)
Do you have an exclusive exercise or a really fun way of opening your event? Perhaps you can put your own spin on a special reception or other add-on event.
Whatever it is, it has to be special for your audience. After all, your attendees are the ones that will ultimately decide if your tradition is going to be established or worth keeping.