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The Beginner's Guide To Event Planning

Event planning can be hectic. Anything can go wrong at any time. And there is just so much to remember and keep track of all at the same time. Which calls for a framework to help keep the workflow smooth and focused. With a map of what needs to be done, you always have something to return to if you get lost. Think of it as a compass that guides you when you’re lost in the wilderness.

Each event is different, hence there is no one-size-fits-all event planning checklist. But, there are a small number of fundamental items that uphold an event. Pay attention to this especially during the final days before the event or when unexpected problems come up. A highly recommended way of implementing this is to print out the “event day” checklist and go through it two times before setting out for your event day.

Layout the goals and objectives for the event

Why are you doing this event? What do you hope to gain from this? Does it line up with the goals of your organization? If yes, proceed. If no, you might want to restructure the event or even put it on pause until the time is right. 

Keep the big picture in mind. Your event has to serve a purpose. Ideally, that is your brand’s overall marketing or company’s mission statement. Not only that, you would want to improve your event planning skills, hence the need to quantify your goals. 

When working with performance goals, focus on what you can control. To illustrate, a common mistake that is made is focusing on the things that cannot be controlled. That is because there are so many different things that we cannot control and only a handful that we can. You can’t really control how many of your attendees choose to return for next year’s event. On the other hand, you can assess the change in consumer behaviour or the number of sales before and after your conference. 

Your objectives should act as a magnet to achieving your goals. They should be written in detail to define narrow, measurable, and tangible results. If your goal is to reach potential investors, your objective can be to distribute the information that might entice new investors. Include all the relevant information in emails so that all the information is readily available. The more specific it is, the easier it will be for you to determine the metrics that are of the utmost importance in your upcoming events. 

Estimate the budget for the event

There are so many moving parts in an event that needs to be obtained prior to the event. And these items cost money! Your event can literally fall apart if your team that came up with the idea forgot to take into consideration the budget for the entire event. You can end up paying much more than you expected or even not being able to acquire the equipment needed because you don’t have access to the funds. 

  • Venue
    • The cost of rental, insurance, accommodation, or even transport for your team. Bear in mind as well that you need to have a good estimation of the number of attendees you’re going to have. 
  • Food and drink
    • Quite self-explanatory for this. Again, base this on the number of attendees your expecting. Always take note that some attendees might have different dietary wants and needs, such as vegetarian, lactose intolerant, or nut allergies. 
  • Miscellaneous 
    • In just about every single event, there will be some additional costs that add up along the way. It could be the costs that are unexpected or some damages that need to be fixed quickly. Allocate a certain amount for this and you won’t be scrounging for cash at the last minute. 

Your event budget is a living breathing item that has a life of its own. At least that’s what it feels like. It’s not an item that can simply be crossed off once you’re done with it. In fact, it is quite the opposite where you need to revisit it over and over again to keep yourself updated and make it as cost-effective as possible. 

Announcing and advertising your event

Once your plan is drafted out, start promoting it. Having about 70% of your final plan set in stone is good enough. That’s because promoting and advertising it can take a significant amount of time for it to gain traction. 

Please don’t skip this step at any cost. Imagine having the biggest speakers in the world along with world-renowned celebrities but nobody knows about your event. In cases like this, you still wouldn’t get people into the event because you neglected the advertising component. 

Most commonly, the event promotion starts with an initial teaser on your social media accounts. Maybe even hype it up by asking your targeted audience to empty their schedules on that particular day for you. Followed by the announcement of the event, with a touch of mystery. Here is a list that you might want in your plan: 

  • Web page announcement
  • Social media hype
  • Email blasts
  • Press and media connections
  • Printed materials 

Depending on your event, you can choose to only release the specific details about the event at a very close date or even not at all to keep your audience wondering. Oh, also, be sure the thank the sponsors and everybody who made the event happen. 

Congratulations! Your event was successful! 

But wait, it is not quite over yet. 

Before you collapse on your bed with that sweat-drenched black t-shirt, assess your event to see what went well and what didn’t. Go back to your event’s goals and objectives and ask yourself:

  • How did we do compared to our expectations? 
    • This number can be the attendees’ forecast, budget, or just about any target you set out to hit. If you did hit it, great! If not, go back to the drawing board. 
  • How did your team perform? 
    • Use your event as a feedback generator for everyone who helped you with it. Ask them what’s wrong, then what’s right. 
  • How did the marketing strategy do? 
    • Which strategy was the most effective? Whether it was creating that social media hype post or writing that blog post about the event. Determine which route you should take for your next event. 

Yes, the list is long, overwhelming, and even downright annoying. But in reality, these lists and checkpoints will give you peace of mind during the event and leave no stone unturned. 

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