How do you go about ensuring that the event you plan goes off without a hitch? That you get stellar client feedback and return business DURING THE HOLIDAYS? As a good planner and producer, you need to be able to adapt to the changing requirements of each client. Here are some quick tips to get you started on planning the most awesome event, regardless of how hectic it is.
1. Think about the attendees
This is more important than anything else. Before you begin planning, take a look at the intended demographic of attendance. The theme of your event and most of the additional details will depend on this, including the location, food and more. Figure out how many people will be attending, what income bracket they will be in, what age group they belong to, as well as the social niche that they are a part of. This allows you to set specific goals for the event you have to plan, leading to a far more successful experience at the end of it all.
2. Make a list, check it twice
Being in tune with the attendees at the event is more important than anything else. Before you begin planning, take a look at the intended demographic of attendance. The theme of your event and most of the additional details will depend on this, including the location, food and more. Figure out how many people will be attending, what income bracket they are, what age group they belong to, as well as the social niche of which they are a part. Knowing the demographics of the attendees allows you to set specific goals for the event you are planning, leading to a far more successful experience as a result.
3. Think About the Date
If you’re planning an event like a conference or a Christmas/holiday party, take a look at the proposed date of the party. Make sure that there aren’t other events happening on the same day (or in the same week). If you want as many people as possible to show up to your event, you must make your event as smooth (scheduling wise) as possible. Knowing the facts is the best way not to fall behind on attendance numbers, which can lead to larger losses.
4. Flexibility is key
If you’re new to the world of event organization and management, beware of sudden changes. As any professional knows, this is an industry that is constantly evolving. You might find that the attendance is going to be a lot more than you anticipated, for example. That may mean a shift in location, whether due to a lack of seating or the location provider canceling at the last minute. There is a lot that can go wrong while planning your event. You need to be flexible and adaptable enough to take these changes in stride and continue to make the event as great as it can.
5. Create a Budget and a Financial Estimate
The budget is probably the most significant limitation on your project. You can either choose to throw an event, ignoring the set budget, and risk delivering your company a huge loss, or, you can stick to the terms you agreed on with the sponsors and work according to your limits. To figure out if the event you’re planning is within these limits, think about multiple factors such as your source of funds, your actual capital, how much money you can raise from things like tickets, and everything else. There are many sources of income inside the actual event, so roughly estimate what these will be and how to use them well.
6. Work With Sponsors!
Sometimes, running an event can be an internally-funded pursuit. In other scenarios, the scope of your event may be such that your current funding isn’t quite enough to afford everything you have planned. In times like this, you should think about external sponsors. Many large companies that would love to invest in your event so they can market their brands. A good example of an external sponsor would be a media partner or a beverage provider. Grant them advertising and marketing rights in return for sponsorship of the event. You might even save some of the original capital from this mutually beneficial sponsorship opportunity!
7.Think about other types of funding
Sponsors and host investments aren’t the only ways to fund an event. You can also rely on the people attending your event to provide some of the resources you need. For example, you could sell tickets to the event at the doors, or before the actual date of the event. Offer tickets in different tiers with privileges assigned to each tier, to make it more appealing to people with different income levels. You can also actively raise funds through crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter, promising tickets or other prizes for various investments. If you’re having trouble figuring out funding and expenses on your own, think about hiring a professional planner to help you out!
8. Plan and Persevere
If you want people to come to your event, you’re going to need to plan it out as well as you can. An organized, professional marketing plan is the best way to accomplish your event goals. If you have prior experience in this regard, good for you! If you don’t, think about a few core factors to include in the plan: types of advertising, demographic-specific advertising, websites and social media promotion strategies, as well as word of mouth. After having decided on a good, pro marketing plan, stick to it. You can’t just advertise it on the radio once and think you’ve done your job. Keep pushing the event to your target audience, so they are repeatedly reminded and driven to make a mental note to attend, sometimes subconsciously!
9. Start Building Your Team
You can’t create a successful event solely on your own. If you try to plan the event on your own without a team to help you out, you’re going to crash and burn, sooner rather than later. Take the time to build a team of competent employees who will help you hammer out the finer details of the event. Even if it is the smallest event in the world, get the help of your peers. Select the most qualified, competent compatriots you can find in the workplace. Ensure that your team has a diverse range of skills, so they will complement each other while planning and carrying out their tasks. Ask them what roles they would most enjoy being in, then assign them tasks that you feel would suit their preferences best.
10. Check in on their progress
While you shouldn’t be the boss that everyone hates, it is your responsibility as the team leader to ensure that every member of your team is doing their job on time and to the best of their ability; it’s of the utmost importance. The last thing you need is to find out on the day before the event occurs that someone forgot to pay the down payment for renting out the location! Don’t micromanage the team, but be sure to get them to send you regular, frequent updates about the progress of the work and the scope of the planning.
11. Give your audience an event to remember
As the organizer of the event, your goal is to make the event memorable. Your audience needs to have an enjoyable experience from the moment they walk in the door. A “good” event is something in which you should not settle. Make it great. Make it so that they don’t want it to end. Hire top-notch caterers, sound crew, lighting crew, speakers and performers to ensure that your audience is entertained, stunned and awed by the amazing experience you have planned for them. Remember – settling for a good night isn’t your goal. Make them clamor for an encore.
12. Be positive to promote positivity!
Everyone who attends will have an attitude when they enter, whether good or bad. It is your duty as the organizer of an event to ensure that the guests change their mood into a positive one over the course of the program. The best way to do this is to be positive yourself. If you’re a model host, bouncing all over the place, beaming at everyone and having the time of your life, your guests will be more inclined to feel the same way. They will want to be as happy as you are. Positivity is contagious! As long as you show your guests that you’re having a wonderful time, they will too!
That said, you also need to make sure that no one is having a bad time. While the general reaction of the crowd may be positive, you might find the odd one or two people who will not be having the greatest time at your event. You can’t let them go as acceptable losses. Every attendee is important, so treat them like the VIPs they are. Go around the room and ask people frequently how they’re doing, and whether everything has been taken care of for them. If they seem down about something, figure out what it is and fix it if you can!
13. Content is the key to a great event
Relevance is one of the most important parts of any event. You should ensure that every part of the program is relevant to the people there. For example, if the event is a motivational speech, make sure the speakers you choose throughout the course of the day are highly qualified to fulfill their role. In the same way, if the event focuses on providing career advice, make sure that every part of the event is related to that goal. It won’t do to have just one speech regarding career advice, and nothing else. The guests must be able to walk away thinking, Hey, I gleaned a lot of useful information today! No one will be happy with the aftermath of the event if they feel the reason they attended is not accomplished. Remember that attendees are spending both time and money to attend the event. Don’t make them feel like it was wasted.
14. Have a failsafe backup plan
Just as things go wrong during the planning of the event, things can go wrong during the event itself. Always have a contingency plan in case something does happen. Ensure that your team has been trained to respond to emergency situations, professionally, without inciting panic and negativity over the people at the event!
15. Don’t be arrogant and aloof
Last, but not least, please understand that short staffing is very possible, no matter how good your estimates and planning. You must be humble enough to lend a hand with the running of the event as the day (or night) progresses. Get down in the trenches with your teammates and employees. Fill in the gaps, so the entire event goes off without a single hitch.
If you stick to these 15 tips, along with maintaining a positive attitude at all stages of the planning, you will see for yourself that a successful event takes nothing more than dedication, perseverance, and a smile.
Subscribe herefor the Event Planning Series! Up next: What's in a name: Your name. Your Brand.