Putting on a good event isn’t always as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of preparation, coordination, and attention to detail to pull off a successful event of any type. The attention to detail will be what distinguishes the event from a ‘good’ event to a ‘GREAT’ event.
Preparing to host or put on an event consists of many things. Some of these include: budget, determining who the audience will be, what content you want presented, the venue, the schedule of events, speakers (if any), sponsors, and who should be involved.
- Audience: your audience will be your attendees. Will it be the public, business people, etc? Determining who your audience is will help you determine what content should be included and who should speak, if anyone, how large the venue should be, and who your sponsors should be.
- Venue: once you determine the size of the audience that you plan to have in attendance, you’ll want to find the appropriate venue. I always recommend scoping out the venue prior to agreeing to book it to ensure it will work for the purposes you have in mind. For example, you likely won’t want to rent out the Staples Center if you’re having a small gathering of business individuals to hear a few key speakers. However, if you’re putting on a large concert, then this might be the right way to go. Also, don’t forget about your budget. Ensure that everything you want to do will be within your budget amounts.
- Schedule of Events: you’ll need to determine if you’re going to have tables or booths setup, if speakers will be there, if you’re going to have door prizes or raffles, if you’re providing lunch or dinner, etc. Ensure you have enough cushion room in your timing to allow for unexpected things (i.e. a speaker goes much longer than anticipated or lunch isn’t served right on time). Having a specific schedule will also help you create an agenda for your audience, if necessary.
- Sponsors: soliciting money and assistance with prizes for sponsors is a great way to help pay for (and attract the right audience) the venue. These sponsors can also help off-set some of your costs, helping you stay within budget.
- Hire or Solicit a Team: don’t try to do everything yourself. You’re there to help plan and coordinate the event, not to do everything yourself. Some teams you may want to solicit: IT, Marketing, Setup / Tear Down, and Transportation.
- Plan Ahead: make lists, schedule meetings, touch base with people periodically. Make sure that you’ve listed everything you need, a plan to make every detail of the event happen (i.e. who is doing it), and follow-up with your team to ensure they don’t need additional assistance. It’s much better to know ahead of time if someone isn’t going to be able to make it, bring something, help out with a certain task, etc. so you can plan ahead for it.
- Attention to the Details: while you’ll want to pay attention to the details while setting up and during the planning process, don’t drive yourself (or others) crazy in the process. If you act like everything is going smoothly during the event, your attendees won’t know the difference. While planning, pay attention to the color scheme you want, the layout of the room(s), the schedule of speakers, etc. But, if a table cloth isn’t ironed just right, or a couple of balloons popped during setup, don’t stress too hard about it.
The more fun you have in the process (and the less you stress out over the event) the more fun your teams and your attendees will have.