Planning an event…well, if that’s your bread and butter, the next few hundred words are for you to read. Although an event, when all setup and ready to be experienced, looks magical, a lot of hard work and meticulous planning goes into creating it. You start with a vision and budget and by the end of it, it transforms into a space full of people and interactive zones. Basically, the event type and scale decide the details that would go into seeing it to the finish line. And there’s a list of 10 stress-free steps and a side of tried and tested tips that you can use to plan your next event and make it look fab. We have divided the list in a two-part article, and here’s the first part; read on…
1. In sync with the stakeholders on the event purpose
If you wish to make your event successful, make sure you don’t treat it just like an event. Try to transform it into an experience for your attendees. And to offer an experience, every detail has to map back to the purpose of the event. To begin with, establishing the fact as to why the event needs to happen. There is a tried-and-tested framework in place that helps us establish this very well with seven potential purposes clearly chalked out. You could be celebrating a milestone, deciding on the way forward, holding a seminar for educational purposes or knowledge sharing. It could also be about ideating, networking to create opportunities, promoting new offerings or attendees collaborating to produce something new/better.
Another important thing to discuss with the stakeholders is how success will be measured. Yes, attendance is the ultimate mark of success but it has multiple layers and is connected to the event’s purpose. For example, if a product is being promoted then success will be measured in terms of the leads your sales team gets.
2. Lock in your event budget. LOCK IN YOUR EVENT BUDGET.
Concepts, ideas, discussions and all is good; envisioning your event beforehand is great. But to translate that into an actual event requires money. And that means you finalize the budget early on, right at the start. The number will obviously come from your stakeholders and there will be some friction on this matter, but that does not mean you can’t negotiate. There are a few tricks as to how you can plan an event budget. For a regular event, a heavy chunk of your budget is going to go toward the venue, F&B and AV. But there will be several smaller buckets to take care of such as event staff, entertainment, speaker fees, event management tools, etc. So, when you chalk out your budget make sure to include all small and big factors to avoid derailing at a later stage.
3. Exactly know who your potential attendees are
Once you have figured out the purpose of the event, understand who your TG is. And that is a two-part question, first, who is going to benefit from the event and second, who needs to attend to work towards a goal. If it is a small event where you know your audience, putting together a guest list is easy but for larger events like conferences or where communities are involved, the attendee pool may be a lot more varied. And if it is essentially a large event that you’re planning, the same strategy cannot apply across a diverse pool, because that dilutes an attendee’s experience. So, classify your diverse attendee pool as per their personas and then get down to planning experiences for the buckets of personas.
4. Lock a venue that fits the event purpose and (more importantly) the budget
A great destination catapults attendance by close to 80%, says a recent study. But that’s just one factor as to why it is a big deal. Here’s a simple way to think about it; you cannot have a great play and couple it with a completely wrong stage set-up for it. There are venue search engines in place to help you compare venues in terms of area, prices and other specifics. Make sure to use them to find the apt venue that fits your event purpose and budget.
5. Get your event team in place
Unless it is a really small event you are going to need support in place. Even if you have envisioned the final event, if you get into all small and big aspects of it, you could be burnt out even before you know it. Also, not every aspect may be your strong suit, so expertise certainly helps. As a visionary, you don the cap of a director. So you don’t just get the team together, but make sure work is delegated as per capabilities and members work in sync as well. You are going to need program administrators, marketers, accountants and a creative force.
In this first part, we have detailed out the things to take care of prior to your event. Well, like we said there are five more to go, which will explain the factors you need to focus on during and post the event. So, don’t miss out on the sequel, as we give you the complete lowdown on creating a fabulous event.