When planning an event for a client or for your own organisation, the most important thing to consider is the event’s purpose.
Decide what your key objectives are in the initial planning stage and focus your strategy around these. These of course will depend on the nature of the event, but will ultimately affect the venue, those you invite, timings and entertainment. For example, is the event for networking purposes or are you launching something new to the market?
You must also create an event brief. This is a thorough overview of the event you intend to organise and will need to be detailed so that anyone involved can read and refer to it at any given time. It will also help you track your event’s progress.
In this blog we will look at five things you need to consider when organising an event.
When writing your event brief you need to include all details relevant to the event. This will include budget, individual roles, whether any partners are involved, venue proposals and of course key dates.
Before setting a date it’s crucial you research whether any other events are taking place around the time you have in mind. Have a few options. The last thing you want to do is organise an event, send the invitations, book catering etc. and find out another similar event is also taking place that day. It’s also advised to take note of key national dates.
Additionally, you need to decide what an appropriate time is for your date to take place. Are you planning a breakfast networking event or an after-work drinks reception? The day of the week you’d like the event to fall on is another consideration - Fridays and weekends are generally a no-go as people may have their own personal plans.
Your event brief will outline who your event’s target audience is.
All events come with a price and, of course, time. Your event needs to be attractive to those you want to invite. People considering attending will ask themselves “will it be worth it?” and it’s your job as an event organiser to make sure it is. This is why a detailed event brief that is concise and in-line with the project’s objectives is essential in planning a successful event.
You need a good turnout. Before you send the final invitation, send a ‘save the date’ email to those you want to invite. This should include a brief description and most importantly, the date. It’s a great way to get your event on the radar of your selected audience, giving them the time to confirm attendance.
Make sure you have a targeted and relevant guest list. Think which of your clients would benefit from meeting others at the event and use it as a strategic networking opportunity, if appropriate.
After you’ve sent your invitation create a spreadsheet to take note of those who are attending and those who aren’t. It’s important you regularly update this so when you send a ‘last chance/reminder’ email invitation you don’t run the risk of emailing someone who has already declined.
You can also promote your event via social media. Interact with businesses and individuals you have invited to ensure attendance and build excitement.
Venue and entertainment
Deciding on the perfect venue can take time and will depend on the nature/industry of your event. For example, it would be inappropriate to host a breakfast networking event in an evening bar.
If you are organising catering/entertainment for during the event you need to work out the logistics and make sure there is space. Organise your venue visit in good time ahead of the event to help your planning. If you are using a restaurant/bar for catering it’s a good idea to invite them to come along to get a second opinion on your thoughts and to make sure it’s logistically feasible.
Likewise, if you have booked entertainment (for example, a singer or DJ) it’s a good idea to ask them about their thoughts on the venue and whether there is anything in particular they would need on the day.
All of these should be included in the event brief.
Finance is a hugely important factor to consider. Your brief should include a calculation of your likely expenditure. Venue, equipment, catering, promotional activity and entertainment (to name a few) all incur costs, not forgetting to include your personal time at the event and staff costs.
We advise you include a 10-15% contingency cost for any unexpected costs that may arise. Refer to your event brief and monitor spend throughout the planning process.
On the day of the event itself it’s crucial to prepare a thorough running order in addition to your event brief. This is a list of the activities taking place before, during and after the event and must be circulated to the team beforehand.
It’s important to be aware that, in any event, things can rapidly change. It’s therefore vital to be able to respond effectively and logically should anything go wrong.
The evaluation of your event will depend on its scale, but it’s important to complete some follow-up actions. It’s good practice to email those who attended to thank them for coming to the event and for any feedback. You could also email those who didn’t attend to say we missed you and to let them know of any other upcoming events that may be taking place.
From a business perspective, you should write a post-event summary. This will help when planning future events to avoid mistakes and highlight the successes of your events.
There’s a bit more to planning an event that you initially realised, isn’t there? If you think you might need a hand deciding on a venue, creating an event brief or just generally managing the event, get in touch with us at Roland Dransfield and we’ll be able to help you out.