Kick start your event organize by setting up folders, calendars and spreadsheets.
Draft a timeline and set up your personal checklist.
Gather competitor materials and past in-house materials including invitations, correspondence and previous quotes. This is especially worth it when you are a first timer.
Prepare your budget and set up a detailed budget list.
Step 2: Brainstorm Sessions
Decide who should be involved in the planning process then schedule several sessions to ensure you cover off everything.
In your sessions you should evaluate past events paying attention to what didn’t work last time. Avoid making those same mistakes again and remember that sometimes an event fails simply because it was held on the wrong day or the wrong month. With a little adjusting it could be a winner the second time around.
Sample checklist of what you will need to brainstorm:
Time of day (breakfast function or cocktail event)
Step 3: Submit Request For Proposal
Once you have determined and outlined your goals, objectives and agenda, it’s time to write a request for proposal (RFP). Your RFP should be as detailed as possible and cover everything you need from the venue or supplier. Follow up with site inspections if necessary. Ensure you check on the service as well as on audio visual equipment.
Step 4: Confirm Dates, Rates and Details with Suppliers
Make sure to double-check all dates, rates and details with suppliers in advance of your event. Getting confirmation (in writing) on all details prevents nasty surprises the day of event. It’s also a gesture of good manners to inform all properties which sent a proposal what your final decision was.
Step 5: Promote Your Event
Publicity for an event has to be planned well in advance since it always takes some time for your audience to receive the message. Think of all available media including newsletters, bulletins and flyers. Make announcements at meetings of the organisations you want to involve or at related events.
Make people aware of your event with an attention-grabbing invitation. Try to intertwine the theme of your event with the design of the invitation. Include vital information on the invitation including an RSVP date and contact, parking details at the venue, as well as start time and anticipated end time. Send a follow-up invitation or consider some telemarketing if RSVPs are low.
Step 6: Assign Tasks
Form a team which supports your planning from the beginning to the end. Assign different tasks to one or more people. Make sure people are capable of their tasks and know what they can decide on their own and what not. When there are several people working on a task select a supervisor. Organise regular group meetings to keep track as the work progresses.
Step 7: Reconfirm Everything
When the days get closer to your event take some time to confirm everything from A to Z. Don’t hesitate to contact everybody involved with your event. The most important people should be contacted first. Allow yourself time to come up with “Plan B” should something have changed dramatically.
Step 8: Train and Brief Staff
Well-briefed staff are essential for a successful event. Tell them what the aim of your event is and what message should be spread. Make them familiar with the location by providing them with photographs or the floor plan of the property. Give each staff member a highly detailed running sheet of the day’s events including who is responsible for each activity and timings.
Step 9: On the Day
Remember, something usually does, and probably will go wrong. However, also remember, it’s usually only the event organizer who knows about it. Keep a running sheet handy and stay one or two steps ahead of the schedule. Most importantly, don’t be tempted to drink too much champagne!
Step 10: Evaluate, Debrief and Follow Up
Request feedback from attendees wherever possible. To gather data prepare a short survey for all participants. You could even combine a survey and event photos on one webpage. The response rate will be higher and attendees are happy to look up some great memories. Schedule a meeting with your meeting committee for the week after the event. Discuss what went well and where there was room for improvement. The post-event phase can also include the publication of press bulletins and all kinds of other documentation on the event. Consider a thank-you letter to all participants.
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