Event management is extremely hectic for even the most experienced professionals. Plenty of things can go wrong when you don’t put a good plan in place. Any little step you can take to make things more efficient goes a long way to making your event a success and creating memorable experiences for attendees. Here are 5 tips to help you plan and manage your event successfully.
Your goals and objectives should be the foundation of your event. Ask yourself some questions to help you formulate realistic goals and measurable objectives. What is the purpose of this event – are you looking to increase branding and awareness, sales lead generation, customer engagement and upsell, or information/education? Do the event outcomes directly support organizational goals? Can the event be used to achieve worthwhile communication goals? If you set strategically based goals in planning the event, it will be easier for you to tune every part of your event for success.
Key questions: What is the planned format? Is it a trade show, a seminar, conference, or a breakfast, lunch or dinner so you can get in front of the audience you want? Is it for media, or employees, is it a launch activity for potential customers, or intended to be a celebration? Who do you want to attend, and how will you reach your target audience? Are you going to charge people to attend? Do you want to raise funds for a good cause or sponsored team, increase public awareness of a certain societal problem, launch a new product or generate publicity for a seminar or conference? How many attendees are you expecting to draw? You should set goals and objectives based on the answers to these key questions.
Apart from anything else, if you are queried or even challenged by senior management about the ROI created by the event, you will be able to refer to the goals and measurable objectives you have put in place, which will show how the event supports your organization’s business priorities. If you have set realistic goals and objectives, the measurable results you have achieved from the event will demonstrate the value of your work.
With your goals and objectives in place, it’s time to embark on the process of putting together a reliable team to help you achieve them. Assembling a team involves using your staff, and hiring skilled people, and assigning them responsibilities based on their skills. For instance, you can appoint one person to head each subgroup, such as:
Giving team members individual responsibilities allows you to establish a system of accountability. It also ensures that all tasks will be carried out. Set up a reliable communication channel to promote effective collaboration.
A well-prepared budget is one of the most fundamental parts of planning and managing your event. Without it, even great ideas will fail. Ensure your budget covers all the important expenses and set aside an extra 5-25% emergency fund to cater to the unexpected. Here are some of the essential expenses that your budget should cover.
The date of your event could depend on a number of things – is it a time-based launch, annual seminar, or year-end event? Is the timing favorable to key players or does it coincide with other events in your sector and more broadly? Experienced event planners say around 9 months is the best lead-time for event planning – not too short – and not too far ahead, which can lead to changing of minds. Consider these things to help you choose a suitable date.
Your venue cost is probably the biggest expense in your event budget. Venue search services can help you to compare various venues within your target area. You can get a place that offers things like seating, entertainment, wi-fi, and catering. But if you have all those things already, you’ll have so many more options to choose from. If you want to make your event extra-special (and have generous funding), you could look at creative venue possibilities like museums, yacht clubs or even botanical gardens. If the event is in an outside location, make sure you are prepared for unseasonal changes in the weather! If your event is out of town, there are many vacation rentals available, which come at a very affordable price as well as in very good condition.
To organize an event, you must work with many stakeholders, sponsors, staff, consultants, and vendors. Sort out things with each group ahead of time and set a closing date for any changes. For example, ensure vendors are aware they can’t pull out after a specific date. Set penalties for cancellations to reduce last-minute changes.
With an increasing number of people constantly searching for unique activities to engage in nowadays, event planning is a common activity for PR pros. But for your event to stand out in this rapidly growing industry, you must be creative and organized. Consider the above 5 things from the outset to make your upcoming event a success.
By Silvia Arto, Vice President of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, Chair of the European Regional
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