The business world is often inundated with its share of events, be it larger than normal meetings, conferences, recognition events, stakeholder gatherings and more. So much so that we often forget these business activities are actually considered “events”. If you are being tasked with planning an event for your company, here are some guidelines to help make your event stick on task and target.
Start Planning Early: Coming from the venue side myself, I know most venues are booking a year in advance. Being a last minute planner puts a lot of stress on everyone involved, and could mean sacrificing elements and budgets due to deadline. Finding your venue early also helps you to start planning all of the other details. I know there are some exceptions to every rule, but try to save yourself stress by planning early!
Budget: I know, I know, this should be self-explanatory. But you’d be surprised! Having a budget is SO important when planning an event. In order to book the venue, decide on food, and plan the details you need to know how much you have to spend. Also, remember your budget may need to change if you have a change in scope. There is a saying in the event world, “numbers drive cost”. The number of attendees you have to plan for your event will drive the overall cost of your gathering. Keep this in mind when setting ticket prices, or for non-ticketed events where attendees might invite additional guests.
Theme: If you pick a theme for your event, make sure you continue that theme throughout all of the details. Adding a theme allows for consistency; from invitations to the day-of decor, to the thank yous after everything is finished, and gives the opportunity to reiterate the key points of the gathering. Bonus: It’s always good to have an exciting “wow” factor at your event, so have fun with your theme!
Assign an event “spokesperson” (or two!): Ever heard of “too many cooks in the kitchen”? This is a common occurrence when planning an event, as people are excited and want to share their ideas. Assigning specific roles to people is a great way to share the workload, but make sure when it comes time to contact the venue/caterer/planner that you have identified the one specific person that final decisions fall to, and she or he has a back up, just in case something happens that takes the primary contact away when decisions need to be made- Murphy’s Law.
Communication: I know we’ve all heard “communication is key” but I can’t tell you how key it is when hosting an event! It’s important to communicate with your team, the venue, and your attendees. Your team needs to know what you expect from them. The venue needs to be kept up-to-date with all of the details as things change. And the one that is forgotten the most: your attendees need to know the most simple of things like where to enter and where to park, who to contact with questions, etc. Setting up an answer sheet to possible questions is a great way to get everyone on the same page. Don’t forget to share it with anyone who might be answering phones, answering organization emails, or social media inquiries. It sounds silly, but you’ll build confidence in your event and organization by eliminating any frustration.
Finally, be remembered for the good things:
People often forget what is actually said, but what they will remember is how you made them feel. So when planning an event for your organization, following these tips will help your guests feel like there was value in attending, and your event partners feel involved and appreciated. There is nothing better than having people excited to attend or work with you on your next event you are planning.