Our Top 13 Tips for Event Management

2 January 2019

Event management is a very difficult process that involves juggling lots of different balls at the same time. So, whether you’re a first-time planner doing this in your spare time, or a seasoned professional in need of a refresher, we've put together a guide to help you master the dark arts of event planning.

1. Set your goals

Setting goals for the night itself will help you decide what type of event you are hoping to achieve. We suggest nailing down three key points that you will keep at the forefront of all of your decisions. These goals could be anything from making an enjoyable night for clients and smash out some great networking, it might be meeting new clients and creating lasting connections, perhaps it's more specific and you want attendees to leave feeling motivated and inspired . Whatever the goal, make it specific and build the event around obtaining this goal.

2. Give yourself a long lead time

The earlier you begin, the easier things will be. Even though smaller events typically don’t need as long a lead time, if you want things to run smoothly, it does help to have everything in hand ahead of time. Giving yourself a long lead time will also help you with creating a contingency plan, that way if things go awry like vendor dropouts, ticket sale dramas and so on, you have a safety net of time to get things back on track.

Plans and goals work best when they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely

3. Create a shared calendar

There will be a lot of dates and deadlines to consider, and, on top of this, you will have a number of people to collaborate with. This means that the more information you share, the easier things will become. Fill this calendar with as much detail as possible from dates that the seating plan needs to be finalised by, to vendor contact details. If you are particularly organised, separate, colour code and add tabs, so that all your information will be accessible and easy to add to.

4. Don’t be afraid to bargain

Event planning always means that unaccounted costs crop up, so to balance the books again in your favour, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Channel your inner David Dickinson or watch a few episodes of The Apprentice to pick up tips. However you do it, make sure when it comes down to the handshake you close on a good deal. Our top tip here is to remember that despite what people may tell you, everything is negotiable.

5. Be accommodating

With event planning flexibility is key, over the course of the planning process things are inevitably going to be changed so brace yourself for this. Ensuring you are in the right place to meet these changing demands will mean your event will be more successful as a result.

Flexibility is key - with everything including ticket sales

6. Create teams and sub-teams

Often when event planning a lot of the slack can get left to one person, especially when the team is big. This means it is crucial to split up the responsibilities and assign everyone into teams and sub-teams. Think about what your event needs and which roles require more time dedicated to them. This will help you to create a bespoke structure. As a rough guide, it is good to have one team leader and one assistant, then people assigned to marketing and promotions, venue liaison, finance, creative elements, bookings and on-site logistics. Remember to play to your strengths for the best outcome.

7. Delegate and outsource

There is a lot to do for pulling off an event, before you even consider the icing on the cake – the aspects that make the event truly magical, like a guest speaker , a cupcake tower or a photo booth. But instead of adding time to your already busy schedule and searching out these things yourself, delegate these responsibilities and outsource to specialist companies who deal with these kinds of requests every day. We look after over 7000 speakers for over 1000 events a year, so we know what we’re doing when it comes to booking one. Using a bureau like us can certainly take that responsibility off your plate.

8. Have a rehearsal

From weddings to the Brits, all events that hope to run smoothly have one, and you should too. Block this out in your diary at least two weeks before the event itself and make sure your whole team is there. Even if things aren’t quite ready, the run-through will help you highlight where problems are arising and give you enough time to get them fixed. The way we like to do this is sit together on the couch and run through the night. We talk about who's speaking, the timings of the event and let everyone know what their job is on the night. It's best to do this in advance, especially if there are ends that need to be tied pre-event.

Don't forget to delegate certain jobs in the event planning process to specialist companies

9. Put a contingency plan in place

Things are bound to go a little haywire, so if you have a safety net in place this will help when things do go off kilter. Prioritise the most important aspects of the night and work out ahead of time what you would do if they went wrong. Planning in this way will mean if there is a problem, a solution has already been sourced (although being top knotch event planners, we doubt anything will go horribly wrong!).

10. Be social on the night

As the event organiser, you may feel rushed off your feet, but don’t forget this event is an excellent networking opportunity. As the organiser, people are going to want to talk to you, so be sure to make yourself available – even if it is only for some of the night. So get out your phone and snap away! Something we like to do is film little clips here and there to give a bit of a flavour of what the night was. This is also great content to use for the next event if you want to show attendees what the atmosphere is like.

11. Be social online

Make sure your event has an online presence. A good way to do this is to create a custom hashtag that you can get attendees using in the run-up and on the night itself. The more buzz that is created around your event, the better, as it will encourage engagement and act as a good advert for next year’s event – if you are planning to do one!

Attendees will enjoy being able to spot themselves in pictures following the event

12. Get a photographer or videographer

Whether this is a professional one, or you call in a favour, make sure the night is well documented. Attendees will enjoy spotting themselves in pictures following the event, and having a video of the highlights will be wonderful content to have on hand, but allow attendees to look back at the wonderful night they had (and maybe jog their memory if they forgot aspects). It will make the event feel that bit more magical!

13. Don’t forget the aftermath

While all the immediate hustle and bustle will be over, there is still work to be done. When it comes to effective event marketing follow-up, timing is everything. You want to reach out to clients when they are hot, when you are fresh in their mind! One of our top tips is to have a follow-up plan in place well before the event, and share this across the team so in their discussions they can mention to keep an eye out for it. We also like to tailor out approach as the personal touch is something we love. Meeting our clients at our events is one of the ways to put a face to the name, and build that connection so when we pick up the phone we know who the person is on the other end of the line, and visa versa. Feedback is crucial to improving for next time, so make sure you keep up momentum and strike while the iron is still hot.

We hope our top tips come in handy for you. If you have any others, then let us know! We love to expand our knowledge in order to make our showcase events as wonderful as possible.

For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070  or email  info@speakerscorner.co.uk .

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