Event management can be daunting even if when you’re experienced. Here’s a few tips to get you started on planning your event.
Tip 1: Even if you’re not the most organised person in the world here are some tools to help beginners in event management:
Event Brief: No matter what the event is the first thing you must do is prepare a summary or an Event Brief using the 5 Ws: Who, What, Why, Where, When.
- What: What type of event is it (formal dinner, conference, staff christmas party)?
- Why: What is the purpose of the event? eg. To entertain business clients, is it an educational event, a fundraising event?
- Who: Who will attend?
- Where: Where will the event be held?
- When: When will it take place?
Whether you’re a team of 1 or 5 it is good practice to do this, once you have a complete understanding of what the event is about, the organisation part should be a lot easier. Let’s not forget your budget, unless you have an unlimited budget which you won’t, you need to know how much you have to spend before you start organising your event.
Production Schedule: The next step is to make a list of everything you/your colleagues need to do to make the event happen. When I say make a list of everything I mean EVERYTHING. The old saying ‘The devil is in the detail’ is alive and well in event management so even the tiniest job needs to be written down or you may forget to do it. A production schedule consists of your tasks, deadlines, who is responsible for various tasks and any other relevant information you want to include such your budget and suppliers contact details.
There are various software packages and project management tools you can use to manage your production schedule. A super tool is called basecamp, to summarize you simply set up users so they can access your production schedule and update. This is a great tool if there are a number of people involved, it will reduce the number of emails you need to send as all of the event information is contained in the document and can be updated in real-time.
I’ve used excel in all events that I’ve organised, mainly due to the fact that my budget wouldn’t allow me to purchase project management software. It’s worked for me as I’ve been in small teams of 2 and 3 people so is quite manageable. Even if your team is small but you have a number of other colleagues who will be involved you should think about using something a bit more sophisticated.
Tip 2: Regular meetings with your colleagues is a must to keep on top of event management:
Depending on how soon the event is due to take place you should really meet with colleagues every week to 2 weeks. 6 weeks in advance of the event you should certainly meet once a week to go through the production schedule and monitor progress. Record action points at the meeting so everyone knows what they need to do and when it must be done by. This should be sent immediately after each meeting and form the basis of your agenda at the next meeting. This may seem like adding more work to your already over loaded role but trust me, not only will it avoid oversights but your colleagues will find it very useful too.
Well, that’s enough for the moment! Checkout my blog next week when I’ll give you an overview of exactly what your production schedule should contain, recommendations for managing it as well as your budget.