Ask any event planner, and they will tell you that their job is not easy. Even if they love it, they can surely regale you with stories of events gone wrong, of troublesome vendors, of technical mishaps, of catastrophes and disasters and cataclysms that undercut your otherwise perfect event. After all, if event planning is a career unto itself, it can’t be all that easy, can it?
So now that you’re in charge of setting up your ERG event, what can you do? Where can you turn to ensure that you have an amazing event? Well, you’ve started in the right place. The following tips will help steer you through your plans and keep you on the path of having a successful event.
First, the Dos. These may seem obvious, but better to point out what seems obvious than to ignore it and find out later it wasn’t obvious at all.
- Consider everything. Try to envision your event from beginning to end. What will you need? What materials, resources, and supplies will be required? Where will they come from? Who can help you get them? If you make a list of every possible necessity, you’ll be prepared when the big day comes around.
- Delegate if you can. Find reliable people who can help you tackle some of the plans you’ll need to make. You’ll go crazy if you have to keep track of the two or three or ten dozen aspects of the event that will surely need attention. But if you know someone dependable is on top of getting that audio/visual equipment, for example, that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about yourself.
- Make it exciting. You want people to feel like they can’t miss it. Find guest speakers. Promise relevance and information and new ideas. And if food or giveaways are in your budget, include them. Let’s be honest—nothing gets people excited to attend like free stuff. Unless, of course, it’s an engaging guest speaker whom people want to hear and/or meet. So, nail down a guest—someone who will make a connection with your audience and make the event worthwhile.
Of course, for every Do, there’s a Don’t. Avoiding the following issues will be just as important in ensuring a successful event as the items above.
- Don’t wing it. Make those plans specific and detailed, and have back-up plans. Something can always—and usually does—go wrong. But if you’re prepared for it and have a contingency plan, you can keep your event from being a disappointment or, even worse, a disaster movie.
- Don’t assume. It’s important to hand off tasks to reliable people, but you still need to communicate closely with them. Make sure everyone is on the same page. No matter how dependable they are, your colleagues can always get off track, either by accident or through their own desires. There might be a misunderstanding: your coworker might have a different interpretation of “exciting” and try to bring in a circus act instead of the local entrepreneur you were fascinated by. But if you keep in close communication, you can ensure that everything is progressing toward a common goal.
- Don’t forget the advertising. Whether it’s a company email or a concerted roll-out of flyers, signs, and official announcements, you want to make sure everyone knows the details of your event: the time, the place, the speaker’s position and credentials, and any other information that will assemble your audience. Give plenty of notice, and make sure potential attendees know what they’ll gain from the event. That way, all the other effort pays off.
There you have it. A handful of things to consider as you begin making your plans. Following this advice, simple as it is, will go a long way toward an engaging, successful event that people will remember for all the right reasons. Because in a year, or five years, or even tomorrow, you want people to remember your event as one of the best they ever attended!