There are so many things to think about when you plan an event. Depending on how long you've been planning events, you have different concerns. But, whether you just got thrown into planning or have been planning events your entire life, there will always be unexpected moments. Events, as well as you script them, are unruly. Things never go quite as you plan it. That's why it's important to be flexible and willing to adapt. That doesn't mean you shouldn't plan as well as you can, though. Below are some quick event planning tips to remember as you plan your next event.
Before the Event
In most cases, you have the least amount of control over when you can start planning your event. It's rarely prescribed by you, but by your company, manager, or the company that has hired you to plan. Try to start as early as possible to give yourself the best chance for success.
Set Clear Goals
Each event is an opportunity to improve. Setting goals about what you hope to achieve with this event, whether it's an increase in attendees, increased attendee engagement, or higher ratings for speakers, is key. Communicating value after the event will ensure
Understand the Purpose of the Event
You know whether you're planning a conference, gala, or happy hour - but what does this event need to achieve? What is the theme? Figuring this out early will make planning easier in the long run. After all, without this information, you can't pick a venue, event design, and more.
How big is this event and is your team large enough to handle it? If your team isn't, have you determined what contractors you need to hire? By establishing the team this early, you'll have enough budget to work with and won't create unrealistic expectations.
Promote Your Event
Take the time to develop a comprehensive event promotion plan. Without the use of email marketing, an event website, social media campaigns, and ads, attendees won't know that your event is happening. Invest the time and money in promotion to drive registration.
During the Event
Always Have Coffee
While this does depend on the type of event you have, there is nothing that incurs the wrath of attendees quite like running out of coffee, or worse, not having coffee. If you're planning a conference, a workshop, talk, or anything that has a number of speakers on the agenda - make sure to keep the coffee coming.
Adapt Speakers and Agenda Content
At some events, you have the ability to adapt based on attendee response. If you're using a mobile event app during your event and getting speaker ratings, you can easily see who is and isn't going over well with attendees. If a speaker is poorly rated and they're going to do the same talk at a different time - change up the schedule. Consider taking that speaker's session off of the agenda and replacing it with a higher rated speaker. Your attendees will thank you.
Be Ready for Anything
While unnecessary to reiterate, things happen onsite that you could have no way of predicting. Keep your staff office stocked with sewing needles, a first aid kit, and whatever else might be helpful. You have little chance of anticipating a hungry bird with a taste for finer food flying into your event space, but it'll be your job to figure out how to react.
When you're onsite, it's incredibly likely that you'll forget to sleep. Don't. Take the time when you can to get a few hours of sleep. Without it, you'll be off your game and less able to adapt to whatever situations throw themselves your way.
After the Event
Do Something with Your Data
You collected data onsite. In your mobile event app, at the check-in kiosk, during registration, an in surveys. If you don't already have a plan for how you'll use that data to prove whether the event met its goals, create one. Data you capture onsite is invaluable. You gain insights into attendees, and potential customers, that most companies can only dream of having access to.
Review Goals and Update Stakeholders
You need to prove event success. Take the time right after the event to identify what went well and what didn't, then do a deeper analysis into event success using metrics. Your stakeholders will be more impressed if you can speak their language and give concrete results.
There are a million and one event planning tips and tricks to consider, but the best education is the one you get from experience.
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