It"s easy to dismiss these points thinking they"re trivial. I thought so too, once. I learnt better when I had events come apart because I chose to ignore these simple guidelines.
#1: Ensure that information flows freely across your team
You rarely do event planning in isolation. You"ll almost always have a team of people to whom you"ve delegated various responsibilities.
It"s very easy to make assumptions that everyone knows what the event is all about and how what they"re doing ties in with what everyone else is doing. Both assumptions can be totally incorrect.
At the very beginning of the event planning effort, take the time to share your event"s objective and your overall plan for executing it with every single one of your team members. It"s best to get them all together to do this explaining.
On an ongoing basis, have regular meetings to assess the progress so that everyone is aware of all aspects of the event.
#2: Double check on speakers and all other performers
Sometimes, you come across events where the main speaker delivers his message wonderfully well, except that what he said had nothing to do with the purpose of the event!
Network with other event planners, find out who would be a good speaker for the event you"re planning. Someone might be an excellent speaker for one event, but not necessarily for another.
Ask the speaker for references. Find out as much as you can from those references. Ask them how many times they"ve heard him speak. What did they like about his performance? What did they not like? Do they have any particular relationship with the speaker (which might color their opinion)?
#3: Do detailed planning with a timeline
To attempt to organize a big event in a haphazard manner is to flirt with disaster. You must have a written schedule of all pre-event tasks, with specific dates for completion and specific persons responsible for completing them.
That may sound very basic, but this is one of the things that cause events to fail.
#4: Read the fine print, know all details
As an event planner, you may be exposing yourself to serious financial and other risk if you are not entirely familiar with all aspects of the event.
That includes all contracts you sign, all written instructions, orders and more. Since you are the event planner, you"re expected to be the expert on all these areas.
#5: Have a crystal clear purpose for the event
Have you attended a seminar where the topic was too broad and the speakers seemed to talk all around the topic in a disconnected fashion? That"s what happens when you lack clarity of purpose about the event.
Is the event meant to be a strategic planning retreat for top management? Is it a seminar to bring medical professionals up-to-date on developments in a specialized field?
If it is a product launch, exactly what outcome is the event expected to achieve?
Only when you and your team know the core objectives can you organize a focused event that meets those goals.
#6: Purchase event insurance
Think through what could disrupt your event and what your liabilities would be in such a case.
Disruptions can include strikes, natural calamities, speakers not showing up, drastically reduced attendance and more. Figure out the monetary and legal consequences. And get insurance to cover it.
#7: Triple-check everything
This is one of the most useful planning mottos you can think of.
Someone may have promised you three months ago that they"ll serve exotic Japanese snacks at high tea. Closer to event date but sufficiently in advance, check again to make sure they remember the commitment.
They have many other things to do and may have completely forgotten what they said months ago!
That"s why you need to triple-check everything as you go along.
These straightforward guidelines can save you endless trouble if you"re planning and organizing events. Make them a part of your way of working.
Janet Burton is an experienced events planner. She also writes extensively and her articles cover planning tips, ideas for business events, useful checklists for event planning and more.
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