6 ways to pull off an event with a pop
To get ahead in events planning and management, you'll need a stomach for seriously hard work, the ability to keep a level head when things go wrong and comfy shoes. On the other hand, experts also say that once you’re on the event planning rollercoaster, it’s pretty hard to get off.
Both these statements are correct! Even though event planning and management require some serious commitment and long hours, the reward of hosting a successful event is so worth it. Over the last year we’ve helped plan a few events for clients such as Rockethorse Racing, Kinetic and the Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel & Spa. The following five points summarise what we have learned so far:
1. Time and task management is essential
One of the biggest things about planning an event is understanding that one missing element can make or break it, and therefore it is extremely important to put a lot of effort into planning every single part and establishing exactly what needs to be done and when. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve sent out invites, secured drinks, a photographer and guest speakers, but have no venue. Have a proper meeting with your team right at the beginning to plan everything. Make a list of every single thing that will need to be done, have deadlines and stick to them.
Anyone with a planner mentality will find this one difficult. We all enjoy being in control, especially when things get stressful. Sometimes the challenging part of it is that you really enjoy most elements of planning the event and therefore WANT to do it yourself. However, you’ll thank yourself in the long run if you share the work and you’ll also come off it with a lot less stress. Try to see it as a good way to share your knowledge and to teach someone else valuable skills.
When it comes to events, nothing can beat exposure. Anyone who enjoyed an event will write about it, post about it and talk about it. On the day of the event, make time to introduce yourself and chat to as many people as possible, instead of just being the planner who runs around with a checklist. When having a conversation with someone, take interest in what they do and why they are at the event. Apart from convincing people to use you for planning their events, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the opportunities in your area for future events. Of course, business cards are also essential.
“That’s how we always do it” is something you won’t just hear from an event planner. Unless you work in a specific industry, no event is ever the same. In 2016, we helped with the marketing of an event called ‘Race the Wild Coast’, a 350km horserace organised by Rochethorse Racing. Except for one of our colleagues, none of us knew anything about horses, which required an in-depth research session for all of us to be able to take the right approach when working with the client. Finding out about a whole new industry and learning new things turned out to be the best part of the project. Embrace the constant change and start each new project with a fresh, passionate and curious mind.
Before, during and after the event, have a mind set to constantly think about how you can improve or change anything in the future. Whether it’s about your team, how everyone can work together, which elements work best, how the guests feel, how to be more efficient, or just which snacks work better – you’ll be able to see an improvement with each event.
The important thing is to write down every single element that crosses your mind as soon as you think of it. The smallest things are usually the most important ones and the ones that you forget about, and that’s where the improvement list will come in handy. Lastly, get information from as many sources as possible. Ask guests if they liked the event, how it can be improved and learn from it.
4. Bonus: posting at the event
We’ve attended a number of events for one of our clients, @home, where we’ve had to post live Facebook, Twitter and Instagram updates. Although this sounds like it can only be fun (and it is), it can also get quite stressful. During the event is when you have the most engagement and get the most exposure, making it essential to leverage that to get as much interest and exposure as possible.
Make sure you have someone specifically dedicated to live posting, follow all attendees on all social media platforms before the event, and make sure you write updates that can be tweaked and posted before the event so they’re ready to go – you probably won’t have time to think about it at the event.
Lastly, if you don’t have much experience in event planning and management, don’t hesitate to test the waters, but make sure you have a strong team and that everyone is invested and involved before you commit to anything. You’ll instantly know if it’s your cup of tea or not.
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