Planning a successful event involves many elements and intricate details including finding a venue, choosing food options, deciding on the number of delegates who are likely to attend, audio-visual requirements, entertainment needs and so on.
It can be extremely stressful, time consuming and a lot of hard work for the person in charge of making the event happen! Taking time to put together a written, step-by-step plan, will help make delegating event responsibilities easier and keep a rein on expenses.
Whether you are organising a training day or team building activities, a large conference or a gala dinner, sticking to a few key planning tips can help you achieve a successful event.
Plan Plan Plan!
You can never start too soon. Venue diaries fill up quickly, especially currently as many people have been glued to their desks at home for the past 18 months or so, therefore people want to get back together again, face-to-face, to reconnect.
Realistically a large event can take at least up to 6 months to organise! To help keep the final run up to the event to go as smoothly as possible, try to get all contracts signed and suppliers on board as soon as you can. Even for smaller events, giving yourself the time to plan in advance will help.
Use your time cleverly at the beginning to research into the kind of event you want to host.
You could look at past events and ask:
- What went well at this event?
- Why did certain things not work?
- What could have made it better?
Reviewing feedback from past events will help in nailing down and pulling off the perfect event.
We all know that organising an event can involve many different parts, so planning early can give you the best chance to source options, and more of them, to give you the opportunity to make that perfect choice.
The 5 W’s
WHEN will the event take place?
If this is a recurring event then dates may already be pencilled in the calendar for the forthcoming year. If this is a new or one-off event then you may wish to take into consideration the following: national holidays, avoiding school holidays, availability of your speakers or VIP’s etc..
WHERE is your event going to take place?
Your venue selection could make or break your event. You will need to look at capacity for venue, who will be attending and how accessible the location is, will the location & venue attract the maximum attendees possible, can the venue deliver on budget and all your specific event needs.
WHO is your target audience?
‘Clients / Suppliers / Prospects’? Who you decide to invite and aim your event towards will have a major impact on all of the other elements you need to plan and consider.
Think about who will benefit from your attending the event and will that person consider it to be worth their while accepting the invite. If appropriate, use the event as a strategic networking opportunity.
WHAT is the main purpose of your event?
Why do you want to host this event? Is it to generate sales, launch a new product, attract new customers or engage with your employees away from the office environment. Whatever the reason this needs to be clearly communicated, from the start, to everyone involved so they can assist in reaching this goal.
WHY this event needs to take place?
Everything you do before, during and after an event should have a purpose. Research previous events and see what worked and what didn’t. Make the necessary changes in order to achieve the best result on the event day.
Post event, review how things went by sending out a post event evaluation to all attendees. This should help in planning events in the future and to highlight what was successful.
If you have a clearly defined the ‘Who, What, When, Where & Why’ list for your event, it will be easier for you to better plan more detailed aspects and stay focused on your end goals
Delegate (not to be confused with attendees)!
It’s easy to get swamped when organising an event. Attempting to take on too much responsibility can leave you losing focus and sure to forget certain key aspects.
Delegating could be as easy as hiring someone to help – such as an event planner, caterer or someone with experience of running events. If this doesn’t suit then assign colleagues with tasks.
Money is always a huge factor when organising an event. You will need to consider costs for the venue, catering, audio visual equipment, entertainment and/or activities, marketing and of course your own personal time.
Set a fixed budget and try to stick to it. Costs can spiral out of control and there will always be some unexpected costs that may arise.
Agree on flexible terms to protect yourselves
Many venues have altered and adjusted their terms and conditions in the past year, to make them a little more flexible and not only to protect themselves but protect you as the client too.
Make sure you don’t overlook important clauses and agreement terms in your contract. Maybe get a second opinion on the cancellation policies and terms set out from each venue.
Be sure to get agreements put in writing and not just a verbal confirmation. Do take time to pick up the phone and discuss any concerns you might have – it’s better to be safe than sorry and can save a lot of angst in the long-run.
Look outside the Boardroom!
Alongside dates and times of events changing frequently, over the last 18 months people have also adapted their way of thinking, for example where & how to hold events.
No longer is it essential to host a meeting in a conference room or organise a dinner in a hotel ballroom.
These days most people want options and are looking for something new and exciting to attract a bigger audience. Keeping an open mind and being flexible with event spaces can widen your choice of where your event can take place.
Realising there’s a bit more to planning an event? Need some professional help?
If you think you may need assistance from a specialist, then contacting a venue finding and event agent such as ourselves ‘DeSouza Associates’ could be just the ticket to help you with creating that perfect event solution.
Ultimately we can save you time, effort and money in the long-run.
We can help in liaising with both venue/supplier and client to ensure nothing is forgotten and, if required, assist with the pre-organising and onsite running of the event too.
Nothing is too small or too big, we will work on all kinds of events and help negotiate competitive rates.