Guest Post by Nifty
Event managers are legendary creatures who handle the planning and stress of an event while we have a great time. Anyone who’s ever held an event knows that old adage about being like a duck - their feet are pedalling furiously under the water to propel everything forward, but they glide along so smoothly that you wouldn’t suspect a thing.
Planning an event can be stressful - there are so many moving parts to keep an eye on and you might feel like you need a double to stay on top of everything. We’ve compiled these best practices to increase your team's productivity, ease the pain and make your next event feel like a breeze.
Step one of holding an event is to identify its purpose. Is it a fundraiser, campaign launch, or simply for pleasure? It’s critical to identify the value you want to impart to your attendees, as all of these options will require a different perspective when planning the finer details.
You also need to identify the outcome of the event - do you want people to walk away with new industry knowledge, or to know more about a particular company or brand in order to do business with them? Outlining these outcomes will streamline the rest of the planning process, from content development to guest invitations.
Once you’ve determined the purpose of the event, you can get into the fun stuff - logistics. This is where you’ll determine your budget, the event agenda, contractors, as well as the planning time frame. You should always budget extra time just in case delays pop up - and pop up they will. Better to over-prepare in this case.
Another logistics tip is to plan ahead for the different types of risk that you can run into, whether that’s due to human error or an act of god. Say, for example, you’re holding an outdoor event and a freak thunderstorm hits - or you’re hosting a charity event and someone accidentally eats an almond pastry when they have a severe allergy. What is your backup plan if and when something goes wrong? eve works with you to mitigate risk and implement solutions, so you can move forward with logistics planning with less stress.
A detailed master-plan will go a long way towards helping your event run smoothly with regards to budget, contractors, agenda, materials, and anything else you need to deliver the maximum value to your attendees.
The content of the event is your bread and butter. Event planners need to think about the format and content of the event, as well as format a clear agenda of who will be performing and when. Refer back to the desired outcomes of the event to help guide content development and planning.
2020 has become the year of virtual events and we’ve all become intimately familiar with Zoom and other video-conferencing tools to meet with people online. While this is definitely part of our new normal, in-person events are still happening, and an event planner should take into account the needs and availability of their target audience before finalizing the venue.
Venues are a crucial part of event planning - the physical space and decorations help to transport us to another world for a period of time, where we can fully immerse ourselves in the topic at hand. Consider local regulations on meetings and gatherings before finalizing an in-person event. This way, you can safely plan for an event that engages all participants in a safe manner.
Understanding your audience is crucial to putting on a great event. A clear picture of audience demographics (age, gender, income level) will help you cater your event to those who will be most engaged. Researching past attendee profiles and your competition can help you create an updated attendee profile - which you can then use to create your marketing and communication campaigns.
6. Marketing & Communication
Now that your event plan is more or less finalized, it’s time to promote your event through various communication channels to make sure that attendance and excitement are high. Create a key message for your event that can be shared across social media to succinctly describe the value that attendees will gain by joining. Make sure that you have clear communication throughout the RSVP process and leading up to the event.
During the Event:
7. The Day of - Final Touches
So the day of your event is here - now what? You should have a run-sheet prepared to quickly review timing and logistics before people start to check-in. This might include technology checks, timing for introductions, setlists, and final activities. You can also use this to take notes on anything going on throughout the event - maybe people to follow up with, things to follow up on, or notes for next time.
8. Attitude is Everything
Your attitude on the day of the event is everything, so take a deep breath, smile, and rest assured that everything will be fine! If you run into a snafu, stay calm, and know that it's not the end of the world. Rope in the necessary people to help handle it, and go on with the show.
Once the event has ended, it's time to kick off your shoes and relax for a minute (unless it was a virtual event, then feel free to kick off your slippers). Don’t get too comfortable though, because no event is complete without its follow-up actions: sending a follow up note to thank people for attending, and perhaps a survey to collect feedback on what went well and what can improve next time.
You might want to send additional resources to keep the conversation going, whether that’s sending information about future events or ways that they can stay involved.
Event planning can be a whirlwind activity. It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and execution of an event that furthers a sense of community and engagement. With these tips, your future events will go off without a hitch.