Running an event provides tons of excitement, variety while being able to flex your organisation and communication skills. No event is ever the same and you’ll get to see your hard work pay off and quite literally come to life!
But behind the glitz and glamour, there's plenty of variables to consider that bring your multitasking talents and abilities into play. But don’t worry! As long as you plan ahead and know what to cover, you’re bound to put on a fabulous event.
Looking for a blueprint for success when it comes to planning? Here are some key factors and things to keep in mind for putting on a brilliant event:
Finding the perfect venue for the occasion
As soon as a date has been assigned for the event, getting the right venue booked up is one of the first tasks to get done and dusted. There are multiple reasons why scooping up an ideal venue is important for event success. Size, location, accessibility, aesthetic, parking and finding a space where setting up tech equipment (as well as being preferably wifi friendly) won’t be a problem.
You can create a shortlist based on suitable venues in the given area, vet the potential venues and have questions in mind for the vendors. For instance: What’s the venue capacity? Do you have in-house catering or A/V offerings? Are tables and chairs available? Does it have a set-up/clean-up service?
Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress
There’s no such thing as ‘too soon’ when it comes to event planning organisation and setting promotion, catering, entertainment etc.
You can keep on top of this by creating an event master plan that summarises all aspects of the event from activities and entertainment, publicity, handling registrations, presenters, logistics and beyond. This is useful for breaking down aspects which need to be considered (e.g. for the venue, this would include details on: insurance, permits and contracts) for optimal planning.
When you plan ahead, you’ll find it easier to book a suitable venue, appropriate speakers are more likely to be available, your event will have more build-up with its promotion and best of all...more people will attend if given longer notice! It’s a win-win.
Spread the word! Embracing promotion and social media
If you’re planning a public event, ensuring the word gets out there about the event is essential for boosting ticket numbers. Visibility on social media is indispensable - it will spread the date, location and corresponding details to potential attendees across the internet as well as allowing others to share and tag their friends.
This can be done by creating a Facebook page for the event, through Instagram geofilters or running YouTube ads. Creating a website would be the main port of call and will allow users to book tickets directly.
Defining your goals, objectives and expectations
The goals for your event should specify the exact outcome or intended purpose you’re striving to achieve overall. Your overall goal can be obtained by setting objectives in place. A useful acronym for noting your objectives as an event planner would be using S.M.A.R.T to planning so you can smash the overall goals you have in mind:
Specific - What clear-cut outcomes do you have in mind for your event? To have a certain amount of donations made if it’s a fundraiser? To gain social media traction and plenty of online promotion if it’s virtual?
Measurable - Your objectives should be measured with hard data. Whether it’s checking the specific number of tickets sold or sending out a post-event questionnaire to rate the success of your event. Or for a corporate event, being able to see if sales revenue outperformed previous events.
Attainable - This would be creating realistic targets for success. From defining your desired attendance, sales at the event itself, social media buzz. Ultimately, being sensible setting each objective instead of over-projecting.
Relevant - Keeping in line with the vision for the event, relating back to your client or companies wants and needs for the event.
Time-bound - Creating timelines for each objective you set into motion, specifying when it needs to be completed.
Setting and maintaining the budget
As lovely as it would be to throw a party, wedding or networking event completely budget-free - it’s imperative to define how much spending will be required. Events can get pretty pricey afterall! When determining your budget, factors to consider include: cost of staff and venue, catering, decorations, tech equipment, amenities, marketing and for additional expenses.
Creating space and wiggle room for any unforeseen expenses is a must. A tip for this would be to set aside somewhere between 5-25% to cater for the unexpected...think of it as an emergency fund.
Once you can put a figure on this, you’re then able to allocate your money. If your budget is already set in stone, it’s your job to prioritize how much will be spent on all resources. You can then create a budget document on Excel to organise your spending. There are other template alternatives out there too tailored to event management.
This involves assigning tasks to employees and volunteers working the event. It goes hand-in -hand with creating a master plan and overall vision for the event - figuring out who will be responsible for what. It establishes a system of accountability, you can’t juggle everything!
Communication is key. Assigning responsibilities and checking in with staff enables them to do their work efficiently as well as update you with any logistical changes/challenges. It also eliminates stress from your job and will give you an opportunity to interact with attendees, sponsors and partners.
Giving clear, precise instructions but also determining which tasks can only be accomplished by yourself as opposed to event staff. For instance, making critical strategic decisions.
Is planning your strong point? Consider a career in Event Management
Is organisation, thinking on your feet and knowing how to take decisive action all skills you possess? If you’re looking for a fun alternative from your current occupation, why not consider training up to become an Event Planner? You could use your wits, people skills and management know-how to potentially plan: parties, galas, weddings, networking sessions and more!
The Training Room offers both an intermediate and professional Events Management Course that will provide you with essential skills, excellent tutoring and recognised qualification to get your new career off the ground! Learn tons of industry-relevant knowledge courtesy of our fantastic e-learning platform. Browse our Events and Tourism page to download your free e-guide today!
Become a Qualified Events Planner