1. Begin Early
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should really begin planning it for four to six months in advance. Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run-up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that all vendor contracts are completed a few weeks before the event.
2. Remain Flexible
Over the course of planning the event, things are going to change. Whether it is event times, locations or even the type of event you’re hosting, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and can meet the changing demands.
Despite what many vendors will tell you, everything is negotiable. Remember that with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate as low a price as you can. Determine your budget before meeting a vendor, and offer to pay 5-10% lower than this figure. Your vendor may put up a fight, but ultimately they want to win your business.
4. Assign Responsibilities
Break up the various elements of the event into sections (e.g. registration, catering, transport), and assign a section to each member of your team. As they are solely responsible for their own section they will be much more clued into small detail changes.
5. Create a Shared Document
With the cloud comes many benefits, and collaborating with your team couldn’t be easier. In order to keep everyone on the same page, create a central manual or document that details everything to do with the event, including vendor contracts, attendee information, and the floor plan. With a shared document everyone can refer back to it if they are unsure, and your entire team can spot if something is out of place.
6. Have a Backup Plan
It is rare that an event is ever pulled off without at least one issue, an item may not turn up or an important person may arrive late. Assess the most important assets your event will have, and create a backup plan for each. If a number of issues arise in the future, triage them and decide whether an alternative can be found, or if it should be cut entirely from the event.
7. Do a Run Through
About two weeks before the event, do a run through of the entire event process. Organise a meeting with your team and mentally walk through everything, from initial set up to the follow-up process. Often complications are highlighted at these meetings, and you will have time to correct them. A few days before the event organise another run through at the venue.
8. Photograph Everything
Pictures paint a thousand words, and posting positive photos online is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your event. If you have the budget hire a professional photographer, they will be more clued into the kinds of photos that are required and will approach you for specifics. Ask for a number of shots to ensure you cover all bases like a snap of the full room, photos of event branding, and lots of photos of attendees enjoying themselves.
9. Get Online
An event is a perfect way to up your social media presence. Create a custom hashtag for your event on Twitter and encourage your followers to tweet about it. Similarly, create an event on Facebook, and encourage your followers to tag the event in relevant posts. Upload your photos once the event is over and actively encourage users to tag themselves.
10. Follow-up Immediately
Once the event is over, many organisers fall into a common pitfall – taking a break. While the logistics may be done it is important to be proactive in following up with attendees, be it over email or on social media, to demonstrate the success of the event.
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