Event Planning

How to organise an event
Sometimes it can be a bit mind boggling when you’re suddenly in charge of an event, and having been in that position many times I though it might be good to share some of my knowledge.

Naturally you should always make sure you have the right event host for your big occasion, and of course there are a few other things your really need to think about before you get anywhere near hiring someone like me.  It is for this reason I’ve put together an outline of organising your event. This page will help you with your event planning. It’s all down to being organised and planning ahead.

The thing to remember is that each event has its own set of unique variants, and this document will work with some events and not with others. However you can utilise the following information and tweak for your own plan for a successful event.

Events are a major marketing tool, opportunity to showcase what you do, raise funds, create contacts for future business, to get customer footfall and so on. Whichever, it is important to get it right.

Planning, lists, action plans with time related goals are key to getting things done – Lists, lists and lists. I am a list maker and you’ll need to be when putting together your event plan.

IMPORTANT: Have a contingency plan. If things go wrong have a back up.

The following list will enable you to create a working plan for your event. It will also hep you decide if the event can take place. It is always better to stop and event at this stage than it to be a failure.

The What? Why? When? Where? How? List for your event – Just for starters.

Location
PA Sound and lighting – how it can change inside and out
Stage
Weather – will it affect your event?
Staffing
Select an organising committee
Planning
Making it happen
Date and time
The venue
Program/invitations
Mailing list
Invitations
RSVPs
Marketing and Media Plan
Printing
Misc items
Travel
Catering
Compere / Host
Greeting VIPs
Volunteers
Running sheet
Security
Signage and directions
Recording
Gifts
Recognition of Indigenous land owners
Name tags
Uniform

What? Why? When? Where? How?

These questions become part of your feasibility plan, and will assist you to decide whether to proceed with the event. Remember it is always better to pull out of an event than to host a failure.

Select an Organising Committee

The event manager is the most important person at the event. They know everything. However they always have a team of people who work with them that know exactly how to do their job and exactly what their role is at the event.

Ensure you use people with the necessary skills and knowledge or that there is sufficient time for them to be trained to fulfil their tasks for the event. You may want to break your team yup into sections marketing, fund raising, steward management, meet and great, design and so on.

Planning

This is the Holland’s Opus of your event. The plan – doing this will ensure everything is marked off and goes as planned. You plan for all eventualities. Many of the best event managers plan for the worst case scenario so that if it all goes well it is as smooth as can be.

You are essentially project planning – use these principles to guide you on your journey. Event management takes into account everything from guests, audience, budget, sound system, travel, accommodation, media plan and more. You need to put together your event list.

Making it Happen

As I said before delegate some of the ‘making it happen’ magic to your committee/team. Giving out jobs helps people to feel involved – make sure you have clear communication. Hold regular meetings, set an Agenda and get agreement for the tasks ahead, set dates and get it done. If someone hasn’t dome their part ask why.

Budget is probably the most important pat of your planning. Creating a budget estimate helps understand where you’re going with the event. The most costly items to be budgeted for are staff, equipment and insurance.

Date and Time

A date and time is so important. You need to understand you target market and when they are most likely available. If it’s an event be aware of other clashes, if your event is different enough yours could be the antidote.

The Venue

The right venue can make all the difference. A conference can be all the better for a well equipped venue for its staging. A huge blank field could become a concert venue, but is their parking, can you get permission for the event.

Also think about people with disabilities and impediments that could impact on their enjoyment of the event.

Police Charges

Many public large scale events in the UK are now responsible for picking up the costs of the Police service. You should look into this, some get away with security and stewards providing a similar cover, however you may still have to pay policing charges.

Other Misc
There are also considerations to be taken for catering, toilets, first aid, entertainment, security, insurance, accommodation, sales, finance and funding, staffing and more.

Hiring An Event Host or Compere
Some people leave it to their mate or a member of the committee who is good a speaking or a bit loud. That’s fine, but please remembers this – a professional event host is trained in the art of talking to large groups of people.

Event hosts do it day in day out. They are the experts in their field. An event host is the face and voice of your event, would you leave that to Dave from accounts that is funny at lunchtime.

Marketing
Website, leaflets, flyers, posters, word of mouth, radio advertising, promotion staff, newspapers, mailing list and so on.

The key is getting people to know what’s on and when. You can choose any of the above list items depending on budget. Whichever you choose keep the theme simple and direct. Time, date, location, cost and what it is – what’s the Unique Selling Point of your event?

Media
A media plan is a part of your marketing strategy. Start organising publicity surrounding your event as soon as possible. Within all media add in your website address, date, venue, time and USP.

Dependant on the size of the event you can always trade publicity for a sponsorship position at the event. Places to advertise include websites internet, newspaper, radio and TV. You can get much of this free if you know how.

Printing
You can get printed material at a cheap cost these days without a cheap look. Browse the internet and you’ll find many companies that offer thousands for a low cost price.

Volunteers
You could recruit volunteers to assist with your event, especially marketing and stewards. It is important that everyone in the team knows the USP message, date, time and venue. There is no excuse be it a volunteer or not.

On The Day Paperwork

Site Plan
Drawn to scale with the correct people in the right place. For marquee of event hall exhibitions you should have these marked out with the people’s name on the event site plan and down on the event ground. It helps if you can produce this ahead of time to post out ahead of the event, and hand outs at the event. Trust me it saves so much time.

Running Sheet
A running sheet for your event should be developed. Times of arrival, on stage, event start time, on site time for security, act arrival times, act on stage times and son. It needs to include everything.

A basic running order for everyone else should be produced. Everyone needs to be in the know – singing from the same song sheet.

Contact Sheet
It should include every contact telephone, mobile number, e-mail address and name relating to the event. In addition include the role of the person on the sheet.

Signage and Directions
Make sure that adequate signage is on display for your event, posted at all entrances, directing people to the venue. Banners are a great and cost effective way to make people aware of the event. Again check out cheap banner manufacturers on the internet. Also think about signage at the event – where are the toilets?

Wheelchair accessibility routes should be clearly laid out.

Recording
Keep a record of your event, pictures – take photographs, record sound of the people at the event.

Gifts
It’s not just fashion shows and award ceremonies give gifts to people who speak at their event. It is a fantastic tool to keep people happy and to say thank you for giving time.

Supplying free bottles of water, tea making facilities and a free lunch always goes down well with volunteers.

Name tags and identification for event staff
If it’s a conference your delegates should have name tags. If it’s a concert event make sure your staff has the relevant identification on display for members of the public. An obvious is a uniform for all event staff.

Right – well that’s it for now. I do hope that is a help to you. If you need any further help with your event please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Kevin

By Kevin field event host, presenter, producer and broadcaster.

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