The Definitive Event Planning Checklist
Planning an event can be a very stressful and difficult process. There are lots of internal opinions and external services to juggle, and often the original plan can get lost along the way. So to help keep things on track, we've put together the definitive event planning checklist to guide you through the ups and downs of event planning.
From our years of industry experience, we’ve found that most events follow a similar pattern with fairly standard pitfalls. To ensure that you have the winning formula, take a glance out our handy checklist. If completed correctly, we can be fairly sure it’ll be a night to remember – not unlike Shalamar’s hit from 1982 (no guarantees of course).
Firstly, have you thought about the objectives of your event? A lot of people may be working on the same event, but with opposing goals in mind. Different groups within the same company could be aiming for diverse outcomes: some may think the main purpose of the event is networking, or lead generation, while others may think the main reason is to generate profit.
Before making any serious decisions, it is important to agree within your group of organisers what it is that you all want the event to achieve. Ensure that the whole team working on the event is moving towards the same overall goal and keep this in mind when making any key decisions. It helps to write this down and have it for reference further down the line.
Ensure the whole team is working towards the same goal
Where the event will be held should be one of the first things that you secure in the process of getting your event off the ground. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to jump to ideas of theme, entertainment and food before nailing that crucial venue. Unfortunately, a certain space might not be able to accommodate your artistic vision, so remember to work within the constraints of what you have. Michelangelo completed the Sistine Chapel, despite great physical duress - so if he can do it, you’ve got this too.
Crucially, before booking a specific venue for your event, have you checked that everything else that ties into this? Are there good transport links to the venue? People will be arriving on planes, trains and automobiles so best to make sure the venue can take that kind of strain.
Moreover, will the venue be providing catering, helping out with tech requirements, and do they have first aid in place? If not, these need to be added to your to do list.
You may have a rough date in mind, but it is important to check a few details before you lock it down.
Check what the venue can and can't provide
Have you considered if there is there another event going on at the same time that you need to think about? You don’t want half your invitees whisked off to the heavyweight championship happening at the pub down the road or too tired from their bank holiday blowout. There also may be events happening in the same venue to consider. If there is a concert going on at the same time, think about the impact of the noise, or if there is another conference, think about directing your attendees clearly to where they need to be.
Bear in mind anything that could impact your intended audience before you book in the date and sign on the dotted line.
This will determine a lot of your decisions. Before you start freely swiping that credit card, it's a good idea to write down everything that you might need to pay for. Then consider: will you be offsetting these costs with ticket sales or a sponsor? Make sure that you forecast where you expect profits and loss. It's a good idea to factor in timescales too, as money may be coming in and leaving your account at different times.
We would always suggest to over budget, as this way you have accounted for those unexpected charges that will crop up along the way – from the essentials like insurance and license fees to the fancy extras like the upgrade on your vodka luge.
Write down everything you need to pay for
Before the day itself, you should consider your intended outcomes and put these in place at the start, as deciding these will mean you have to consider other factors too.
Are you putting on an awards ceremony or a conference? If so, you'll need a host or a facilitator to make sure everything runs smoothly. We work with this type of talent all the time and are always happy to chat through your own personal event aims. We receive all kinds of event briefs from ‘just make everyone laugh’ to ‘must be prepared to get the whole room singing’, so don’t worry about asking the question - there’s nothing we haven’t seen.
Have you thought about the follow-up marketing you may want to do? If one of the outcomes is to have a piece of content from the event, then it will be worth organising a videographer or someone taking notes on the night to turn into a blog.
Don't forget to also set targets for your event, like social media engagement or a critical level of ticket sales to hit, and to review how these went afterwards. If you hit your targets, after giving yourself a hard-earned pat on the back, work out what went right and how you can improve for next time. If things didn’t go to plan, pinpoint exactly where things got a bit rocky and how you can remedy this.
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