21 Jun 2012

Quick guide for planning events – part one

We’ve all hosted or been to an event that’s gone horribly wrong. What happened, and how could this have been prevented? On the other hand, we have all been to events that have exceeded our expectations. What was so special about the event, and how did the host achieve this? In the world of business, and indeed in our wider lives, we will all at some point be faced with event management. This could be something as small as an internal occasion for a few colleagues, to an external event spanning days and including hundreds of people. Whatever the occasion, whoever you are catering for and whatever your guidelines, there are a few key rules to follow to ensure that your event is a success. In this blog, I will focus on the planning stages of the event which of course is key to fulfilling your goals. Know your audience When dealing with people in general, this is a key principle. Who are you targeting? What are their age ranges, interests, and motivators? Most importantly of all, what will they be expecting from this event, and how can you ensure their attendance? The last two questions especially need to be answered to guarantee your event’s success. Real thought needs to be invested in understanding what will attract people to your event, and then how to make sure they go away with their expectations met. In order to do this, research events similar to yours. Where have these events taken place, what kinds of activities occurred there? Ideally, your event will cover all of these common ideas, and then expand on them. Know your purpose Have a clear idea of why you are hosting this event. What is your main goal? Events without clear objectives become pointless. Similarly, events with too many goals will at most only half achieve each of these. The best idea is to have one or two very clearly defined goals, and focus on creating a successful event by achieving those goals in particular. Think Outside the Box If your event is the same as all the others that have come before, attendance rates will struggle. For those that do attend, the event will not be memorable, and any goals you wish to achieve may suffer. Your event should include some key point of difference that makes it stand out from the rest. This does not have to be an overwhelming and mind-blowing ultimate idea- rather, small personalized touches usually work best. Plan, Plan, Plan There is no such thing as being too organised. Keep lists, keep reminders, map out your whole event to ensure that every base is covered. Of course, you will not think of everything, and some flexibility and quick thinking will be required. But keeping surprises to a minimum should be your main goal in preparing for your event. It is also important to plan around other events and conditions. Winter might not be the best occasion for an outdoor event. The end of a financial quarter might not the best time for a sale’s conference. Considering others, schedules, potential problems, and everything in between is all important in creating a successful event.