Never underestimate what is involved in organising an event, with the best will in the world unless the event is well planned and well organised it can and most probably will fail.
I am sure this unfortunate experience has occurred at sometime early on in the career of a few event organisers but this is how experience is gained, tough as it is one does learn or we hope they do from their mistakes.
We have put together five important tips to help the inexperienced event organisers circumnavigate possible disaster.
- Plan and co-ordinate
Planning and co-ordination lays the foundation for a successful event. You need to consider all the, who, where, when and why aspects of an event. While planning set realistic expectations but also list down all the possible aims and objectives right from the start.
- Select a good team with members that have useful but different skill sets.
- Understand your client’s expectations and identify your target audience.
- Brain storm your event and consider all the components you will need to make the event a success i.e. caterers, AV, lighting, staging, entertainment etc.
- Analyse all the possible costs and prepare a detailed budget
- Send out requests for quotations from outside suppliers
- Prepare a programme for the event
- Do your research and prepare an invitation list
- Create a time flow chart for each activity with deadlines for completion.
- Make sure your team meet regularly and are kept well informed.
- Prepare a backup list of presenters and other essential providers in case of last minute problems.
2. Start the Action
This is the time when important decisions have to be made such as confirming dates, the venue and your programme, whilst you are doing this: –
- Get approval, from those above, for the budget
- Start a social media marketing campaign on Twitter, Facebook etc.
- Market the event by informing the media, preparing leaflets, sending emails,
- Keep your possible attendees well informed and enthusiastic with updates on social media.
- Meet regularly with your team to ensure all the plans are on track.
- Confirm with your presenters that they will be attending.
- Plan travel and transportation arrangements.
- Meet your AV supplier, preferably on site, and seek ideas from them.
- Study the proposals and quotations from your chosen suppliers, ask questions and when you are satisfied confirm the orders.
- Devise a post event questionnaire for feedback from delegates.
3. Stay active before the event
- Create your guest list from those who responded with RSVP
- Prepare a minute by minute plan for the event
- Check and re-check arrangements with the venue, caterers, AV suppliers etc.
- Ensure all activities are running on time including transport arrangements
- Check that VIPs will be recognised and looked after by those allocated to do so.
- Check that your presenters are happy with the arrangements.
4. How to manage the final day
After all the hard work you are anxiously waiting for the event to start. This is the time to ensure your minute by minute plan is working well. Never assume, take control.
On the day of the event: –
- Arrive at the event’s location well in advance with your team.
- Check with your suppliers that they are on schedule and have no issues.
- Set up your reception area and help desk.
- Make sure delegate packs are issued together with the post event questionnaires
- Confirm that VIPs and presenters are well catered for during the event.
- Confirm with the venue that they are well prepared and ready to go.
- Check you emails to make sure there are no last minute delegate issues.
- Make yourself available to your team at all times in case you are needed.
- Liaise with your onsite suppliers regularly to make sure everything is working well.
- Check Twitter and Facebook regularly to monitor comments.
5. Learn from the event
The event is over, time to reflect and relax. Be your own worst critic, if there where occasions where your plans did not deliver exactly what you were looking for, make notes and
- Get your team together for one last meeting.
- Discuss the notes you made and the feedback received from attending delegates.
- Ask your team for their comments, and how they feel it could have gone better.
- If your suppliers have done a good job take the time to write and thank them personally.
- Check the social media for further comments.
- Talk to the venue team and ask them for their comments.
- Produce a post event summary with collective suggestions from all interested parties, ideal to review when you are considering next year’s conference.
- Give yourself a pat on the back plus a big drink for completing a difficult task.
In conclusion: – Event Management is one profession where failure has no hiding places, every event is like a first night at the theatre, you have to get it right on the day, every time. No matter what confidence or what managerial skills you or your team bring on board loopholes in any of the above mentioned stages will land you in an embarrassing situation(s). There is no substitute for experience so whilst gaining that experience learn from your mistakes and always seek advice from colleagues and friends who may have more experience in masterminding events than you. Good Luck.