With so many different things to take into account, planning an event can be difficult. The key to success is careful preparation so below are a few top tips to help you organise the perfect event from start to finish.
Decide on the key objective of your event
What do you want to achieve and how do you want to achieve it? Decide on the key message for your event and ensure that the topics flow and fit well with each other. If you are planning to use guest speakers think about the benefits that they are going to offer your guests. For example, if you are organising a band night, a speaker from the music industry would fit in well with the theme whereas a sporting figure may seem a bit out of place.
Decide on a budget and stick to it
If you don’t implement a set budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control. Don’t forget to consider marketing, staff wages, collateral, venue hire, speaker fees, equipment, travel and food and drink.
The cost of running an event can seem daunting at first but if planned smartly, there are a number of ways you can reduce your outgoings. For example, a local pub may be more than happy to host your event for free during their quiet times because they know they will make money from the food and drink that people will be ordering. Additionally, a guest speaker who has something to promote may be happy to attend at a reduced rate or for free because they will be grateful for the publicity.
It’s important to keep your budget up to date and review it regularly. Allow provisions for emergencies (normally 10%-20%) because you never know when hidden costs may pop up.
Who is managing your event?
Is it just you organising the event or do you have the support of a whole team? If working in a team, make sure there are regular meetings so that the whole group is aware of any updates. Provide clear action points with names assigned to each and realistic timelines so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. This will help to manage things in small chunks and the whole process is likely to run a lot smoother.
Decide on a venue
When deciding on a venue there are a number of things to consider. Location, availability, cost, accessibility, seating, facilities and parking. Before deciding where to host your event, it’s a good idea to know what type of people might be attending. There is no point hosting an event in a small suburban town if most of your guests will be coming from London – because it is unlikely that they will make the effort to attend if it’s too far out of their way! Make sure that you don’t formally announce your venue until contracts have been signed because people may have already made travel plans and changing locations can come across as disorganised.
Nobody is going to know about your event unless you tell them. There are so many different way to promote events nowadays from emailing, social media, adding a banner to your website, sending out text messages and even setting up online message boards to keep in regular contact with potential attendees.
You’re going to keep your guests happy and entertained for far longer if there are refreshments available. Even if it’s not a proper sit down meal, buffet style snacks can go a long way. Most venues will offer in-house catering but be sure to check the dietary requirements of your guests because you are likely to have a few meat, dairy or gluten free requests.
Try to have a run through of how you expect your event to pan out. From what time guests will arrive and how long speakers will be talking for to when food will be served and vitally, how long will be left for networking. Whilst it’s impossible to plan everything to the exact second, having a run through will allow you to ensure that you don’t go overboard or run out of things to keep your guests entertained.
The best way to assess whether or not your event was a success is to get feedback from your audience. What did they enjoy the most? Was there anything they thought was unnecessary? Did they like the venue? Was the location OK for them? Obtaining this information is crucial to the success of future events and also provides you with a great opportunity to catch up with your attendees and remind them of your product or service.