In the job I currently have, this time of year is always hectic because I deliver our annual client event for 65+ people. Although I’m a Marketing Manager, I’ve loved events and event planning for as long as I can remember. Even a simple dinner for friends is so much more to me than that.
I think the first ‘big’ event I organised was for my 18th birthday. I planned and hosted a black-tie, masquerade party complete with awesome home catering (thanks Mum and Grammie!) and a live band. The bug caught me from there and whilst I’ve only spent 6 months in a direct event management role, I’ve used the same skills and experiences in other roles over the years too.For anyone looking to plan and manage an event – no matter how big or small, at home or at a venue, personal or business – these are my top tips for event planning…
- Keep an event folder – electronic documents are great but keep hard copies too in a folder that you can put notes, print outs, completed forms, etc in. This will become your bible; an easy reference guide to all aspects of your event.
- Have clear objectives – what do you want guests to get out of your event? Do you want them to have fun, to learn something, to make new connections? Try to make these objectives SMART and always review them after the event to ensure they were met or, if not, to consider why they weren’t met.
- Set a budget and stick to it – do your research and have a full list of costs ready before you start signing contracts/making bookings. Every small item adds up so keep a running total against your budget as your planning progresses.
- It’s all in the detail – anyone can run a event with a bit of quick planning but to deliver something that people will really remember, you should consider every little detail and be consistent in the look, feel and delivery of your event.
- Don’t underestimate the need for a brief and de-brief – if you are working with a team of people, it’s so important to provide them with a full briefing about what will happen before, during and after the event. And a de-brief is useful to reflect and feedback on how the event went – the good and the not-so-good bits.
- Delegate – I’m a total control freak and not always the best at delegating. It makes a big difference though to be able to ask others for help with certain tasks, no matter how big or small. I was panicking last week about finding 10 minutes in my schedule to pick up a pack of thank you cards before realising that I could ask a colleague who had time on her way to the venue to do it instead.
- Have fun – there’s no point planning and managing events if you really don’t enjoy it. I love the buzz, I love seeing guests having a great time, and I love the satisfaction of knowing my hard work makes a difference. Yes, it can be frustrating and stressful but at the end of the day, I’ve always had a great time.
I hope these top tips for event planning help you out and help reduce some of the stress and workload involved with event management. Let me know if you have other top tips and please let me know if my tips help you through an event.