Event management draws on the three key principles of project management: planning, implementing and evaluating.
Professional event managers know that ignoring these steps can let little things slip through the cracks and jeopardise an otherwise fabulous event, and prevent you from learning what works best for future events.
Discover how you can use project management basics to get the results you want from events in 3 easy steps.
But first, feel free to download this free infographic below – use it as a readily available guide that keeps you on track to deliver your best event yet.
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Step 1. Planning
As the old time-management adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Flying by the seat of your pants is never a good idea for events.
Imagine the look on your boss’ face, and the pit of dread in your stomach, if you forget the special dietary meals for a VIP guest or don’t brief the MC on ‘don’t go there’ topics? Not a great look!
Always start the event process by planning strategically, remembering to keep it simple and involve relevant stakeholders.
Planning strategically is making overarching decisions about who, what, why, where, when and how, and ensure that all the pieces fit together:
- Why produce the event – what are your company’s goals?
- When will it be held?
- Who (and how many) will attend, and their demographics?
- What will be the theme, or ‘vibe’?
- Where will the event take place?
- How will you provide value for (and entertain) guests?
- How much to invest: what is your budget and how will you allocate it?
Keep it simple
Keep simplicity in mind when you plan, because your event project should be doable and trackable during the implementation phase. Our in-house event experts offer these suggestions to make planning easy:
- Keep one notebook or central file for your event
- Write absolutely everything down
- Religiously keep your to-do list up to date
- Mark off tasks as you complete them
- Know in advance all lead times and booking deadlines
Effective planning means you don’t waste precious time faffing about or second-guessing throughout during the implementation or management phase.
It’s a good idea to brainstorm plans with other stakeholders to make sure you extract all the best ideas. Colleagues or managers might have seen what’s worked well in the past or have interesting new ideas to consider. A consultative approach also helps gain commitment to budget and extra resources you might need along the way.#Events 101: A consultative approach helps gain commitment to budget and extra resources. Click To Tweet
Step 2. Implementation
This is the ‘doing’ stage and usually occupies the biggest chunk of an event manager’s time. Event implementation has two main parts:
Leadup: Preparation in the leadup to the event, and…
Showtime: What you need to do on the actual day or night of the event
Implementing the leadup
With firm plans created and your deadlines noted, it’s time to set the wheels in motion.
- Available date
- Sufficient space/seating
- The right ambience and lighting
- Transport options
- Select menus (or external catering)
- Read pricing and contracts carefully (ask for help if you’re not sure)
- Make booking
- Sourcing entertainment can be tricky to do on your own, and we strongly recommend partnering with a talent agency (of which Enhance is an example).
- Brief the agency on corporate goals, event format and audience composition and they’ll recommend talent suited to your budget and can find out who is available for your date.
- The most important thing to remember is to match the entertainment to your audience.
- Again, keep your audience composition and corporate goals in mind when deciding on a theme.
- Do you have in-house decorations or will you need to go shopping to buy these? Or do you have budget for a third-party who can provide this for you?
- Know the space – does it have ceiling rigging; do you need to block out any light; does the venue provide chair/table covers and table centrepieces?
- Organise any signage required
- Locate and check condition of promotional banners
- Make a list of A/V equipment needed by all presenters and entertainers, and find out if any is be provided by the venue
- Book all equipment from A/V supplier (screens, speakers, microphones, projectors)
- Design, create and send out your invitations (or brief your PR/ad agency who can do this for you) and send to guests
- Promote your event as required through your company website, email and social media, keeping all design elements consistent
You’ll need to create a detailed runsheet for the event, that shows the running order of all presentations, entertainment and meal serving. This runsheet should be shared with all relevant stakeholders (the venue, presenters, talent, your manager, technicians and anybody else helping you out on the night).
Remember to keep a close watch on budget throughout the implementation phase. If you spend more than originally planned on some elements and less on others you’ll need to make adjustments as you go.
Now, finally, let’s get on with the show!
- Arrive early – we suggest at least 4 hours prior to event starting to cover any unexpected last-minute surprises
- Manage talent – ensure the talent knows exactly when and where they need to be, do a quick walk through if needed, and test A/V equipment with them. Some talent agencies will send one of their consultants to manage the talent for you on the night, which is a big bonus.
- Runsheet – keep a close watch on proceedings vs the runsheet and communicate any last-minute changes that need to be made
- Photography – hire a professional photographer or ask a colleague with good photography skills and a great camera
- Gather feedback – leave feedback forms on the table and/or chat to attendees to find out their thoughts
Step 3. Evaluation
Gathering feedback on what went well – and what didn’t – is a crucial step in continually learning, listening to customers and/or employees, and producing bigger and better future events.
You might want to consider these metrics when evaluating your event:
- Total number and % of people you invited who actually attended
- Conduct online survey with a sample of attendees, the day after the event
- Your colleagues’ feedback
- Your manager’s feedback
- Event management process – can you identify any ways to save time, budget or resources?
There you have it – if you stick to the three fundamental project management stages of planning, implementing and evaluating, you’re already on the way to running events like a well-seasoned professional.
- Is managing events just one part of your job? Here’s how to get a head start in events.
- If you’re hiring an MC, you won’t want to do without this essential MC checklist.
- Use the runsheet used by professional Event Planners – download the ultimate event run sheet template now
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