We’ve all got our own event planning mantras (mine is “don’t put off till tomorrow that which you can do today!), but what are the quintessential must-dos for event planning?
Certain rules for smooth events apply universally, whether you’re a corporate planner, an event agent or an industry supplier. Here are our top tips to make sure your events go without a hitch (or, at least, only small ones!)
- Communicate. Event communication is all about two really simple things – listening and telling. Listen to what’s required, and tell that to the right people. If you take in the brief, whether it comes from the management board or a client, you must disseminate the necessary information to the relevant parties. If you can do that clearly, unambiguously and punctually, then everyone can get on with their job and pull off a great event. If you receive instructions that you’re not 100% sure about then ASK! Always clarify directions, never for a minute assume that you can guess what someone else means.
- Plan early. Book as soon as you can to get the best choices and availability – that includes venues, flights, all your suppliers etc. Make the effort to site visit when you can and meet suppliers in advance – a face-to-face meeting is an unparalleled opportunity to exchange information and prompt everyone to think about the fine details that make an event. Of course you’re going to be landed with last minute requests and delayed decisions, but if you’ve got the bulk of your event calendar nailed down early, it will relieve the pressure from such irritations.
- Check, check and check again. Rope in colleagues to cross check lists with you and look over your plans, a fresh pair of eyes will often spot things you’ve gone blind to. Nothing should be too much trouble, and short cuts rarely save time in the end. Aim for perfection at the beginning of your planning; believe me, by the night before the event you’ll have slipped into “it’ll do” mode so get the essentials rights at the start!
- Every event planner needs a team, and it’s important to let others take some strain too. You might have a large events department, or you might have to rely on your boss or the company accountant, but get others involved. Different people will bring different ideas to the table, and if colleagues are onboard from the start, they’re more likely to be willing to help sort name badges and stuff delegate packs at the last minute. You really can’t do everything yourself in this game, and you’d be a fool to try.
- Manage your budget. At the end of the day, event ROI is a big thing and you need to prove that what you do brings value. That means not scrimping on the important things, and definitely not overspending. Understand what the most important goals and aspects of your event are and you’ll be able to identify which areas can be trimmed down to save a few quid, and which areas need to be invested in. Always present a budget to management that includes adequate contingency margins – directors love to see costs coming down at the end of the day but asking for more pennies because the crisps have become canapes is never popular!
- Get the planning right for your events and you’ll be the ultimate swan – gliding smoothly on the surface, appearing calm and graceful to all around you, while paddling like crazy beneath it. Even so, let’s face it, you’re going to encounter challenges and (dare we say it) disasters from time to time – that’s part and parcel of events and exactly we love the industry so much! Avoiding catastrophe and picking yourself up from glitches is part of the job description, but prepare thoroughly and you give yourself the best chance of success.
Would your events benefit from some extra support and expertise? Get in touch with us to hear how we can add additional resource and inspiration to your event planning.