The Periodic Table of Events

The Periodic Table of Events [INFOGRAPHIC]

12 min read
Because events are people-oriented.

You work with multiple suppliers, colleagues, agencies and others when organising an event. The Periodic Table of Events gives a visual snapshot of all the contacts you’ll rely on to produce a gobsmackingly brilliant event.

Click anywhere on the table for a larger version.

Meet the people you'll deal with as an #EventProf in this free #events #infographic - The Periodic Table of Events Click To Tweet

Event Industry People

Managing multiple details without dropping the ball on anything is a basic fact of event management. Luckily, you don’t have to do everything by yourself because there are plenty of people on the path that help make your event a big hit.

The number of people you deal with depends on size and scale of your event of course – a small product launch only needs several, whereas a large-scale event like the Olympic Games literally takes hundreds of people just to get it off the ground.

Regardless of size, it’s important to know your contacts, where they all fit and how they add value in the event planning process. From there, you can build great working relationships with everyone in your ‘event family’.

At the end of the day, successful events are all about two things: people and communication. The Periodic Table of Events gives you a flying head start by displaying all the contacts you’ll need for different event types.

Organising an event? See all the people you'll deal with in The Periodic Table of Events Click To Tweet

How to Use the Periodic Table of Events

Remember that colourful chart from high school chemistry lab? Well, it inspired us to create one for the events industry.

In the Periodic Table of Events we’ve placed the key event people into the following groups:

Meet The Event Family

The Planners

When involved:
Event project management
Super efficient, organised, creative thinker
From start to finish, and everything in between

Whether you’re an Executive Assistant who manages events along with everything else on your to-do list, or a professional event manager who runs events for clients, the planner is you!

You’re a composer. You need to write the score of event plans, creating fabulous concepts with your decisions on theming, speakers, entertainment and venue.

You’re also the conductor of an orchestra, waving your baton to keep all people involved in tune, on-track and geared towards the common goal of performing an exquisite piece.

The Planning Team

When involved:
Ownership, support, resources
A mixed bag
Event planning phase, updates throughout project, at the event

As a professional event manager or PCO, managing events on behalf of external clients, it’s essential to establish those client relationships. You’ll need to work with them closely at the front end of the project, to get a briefing on event objectives, target audience and budget.

You’ll communicate regularly with them to discuss ideas for theming, entertainment, speakers and venue. They’ll also need to be kept in the loop on event night, so be sure to give them a copy of your run sheet and advise any last minute changes.

If you’re an in-house event manager, or an admin assistant tasked with managing an event, it’s important to note all stakeholders so you can keep them involved and updated.

An example of a stakeholder is your boss. They may not be involved in the day-to-day event tasks, but they need to know about project progress and budget tracking. They may even want to be involved in some of the decision making around speakers and entertainment.

Sponsors like to get involved in events because of the opportunities for brand awareness or to demonstrate their support for a particular cause. Sponsors may approach you from time to time seeking sponsorship opportunities, or you may need to reach out to them.

Most of the work with sponsors takes place during the planning phase, where you’ll negotiate terms of sponsorship and define their presence at the actual event. Don’t forget to give them the latest copy of your run sheet.

The Talent

When involved:
Public speaking, crowd management, entertainment.
Creative, witty, articulate, exuberant, intellectual
Event planning phase, just prior to the event, event day

Speakers, MCs and entertainers can make or break your event, since their live presence is what gives greatest flavour and colour to audience experience.

You’re very lucky when it comes to managing the talent in your event family: enter your friendly speaker and entertainment agency.

They’re an incredible resource for recommending, booking and briefing all types of talent, from keynote speakers and master of ceremonies (MCs) to bands, singers, comedians, roving entertainers and dance troupes. More about them in the Support Team group below.

Even though the agency liaises directly with talent, it’s important to understand how the key players in this group add value to your event, and what you want the agency to let them know about in the briefing.

Keynote speakers are generally:

  • Experts in a particular field
  • Well-known celebrities such as sportspeople, politicians or actors
  • People who have achieved great success or overcome immense difficulty and want to inspire others with their story

Be sure to advise any relevant areas you’d like to focus on, based on your target audience tastes and your event objectives. Also note any ‘off-limit’ topics that might upturn the apple cart.

Successful events are all about 2 things: PEOPLE and COMMUNICATION Click To Tweet

Master of Ceremonies plays a very important role in keeping your event running on smoothly on schedule. A professional MC is expert at managing time and crowds, as well as performing their own entertaining segments.

The MC needs to be involved in the running order, which is recorded in your run sheet. Off-limit or potentially controversial topics that could invoke heated discussion from guests, should be communicated in advance.

Entertainers come in all shapes, forms and colours:

  • Singers
  • Comedians
  • Acrobats
  • Bands
  • Sight acts
  • Roving entertainers (eg stilt walkers)
  • Illuminated entertainers

The choice comes down to audience preferences, event format and talent availability, which your agency will advise and manage. This takes place early in the planning phase. You’ll also need to do a ‘walk-through’ with the entertainment on the night to makes sure they’re sorted for timing, stage entry and technical needs.

The Audiovisual Experts

When involved:
Technical, IT, lighting, sound
Task-focused, clever
Planning phase, week prior to event, event night

It’s never a good idea to DIY the technical stuff, even if you’re a techie wunderkind. You simply won’t have time to manage any emergent problems on top of all the other people and event details you have to oversee on the night.

Some venues have their own in-house technical crew, which may include a technical director, sound engineer and lighting technician for larger productions. If not, find yourself a trusted AV supplier through a recommendation.

List all AV needs for your speakers, MCs and entertainers, as well as staging and lighting, and brief your technical crew accordingly. You may need to meet the supplier at the venue. It always pays to cross-check everything with them in the week prior to the event, and they’ll definitely be in need of a run sheet from you on the night.

The Venue Managers

When involved:
Food, beverage, catering, table service
Efficient, task-focused
Planning phase, week prior to event, event night

You’ll meet the venue manager early in the planning phase, as location is one of the first things you need to lock in.

They’ll help you out with space requirements, any in-house AV equipment you might be required to use, capacity, seating and options for room set-up such as ceiling rigging.

Your venue manager may also provide menu options and food/beverage package information, although in some cases you’ll liaise with a separate banquet or restaurant manager. If the venue doesn’t provide food, you’ll work with a professional caterer. The venue manager may have recommendations if you’re unsure, or until you’ve established your own contacts.

Check with venue managers about wait staff requirements – sometimes you need to hire your own – or if the event calls for additional security personnel. Once you’ve confirmed final guest numbers, advise the venue manager and lock in wait staff, catering and security needs. Venue staff and management will also need a copy of your run sheet on the night, so they’re up to date on the running order.

The Travel & Accom Experts

When involved:
Flights, taxi transfers, accommodation
Efficient, organised, knowledgeable
Mid-term in the planning phase, week prior to event

Fortunately you can leave booking flights, transfer and accommodation to the experts: blessed be your travel agent.

Let them know event dates and names/contact details of travellers, and they’ll create itineraries that you can check off with the people travelling.

Be sure to stay in touch if there are any changes to the event schedule, and in the week before the event cross-check all details with both your travel agent and travellers.

Nothing worse than a speaker missing their flight because of a schedule change they didn’t know about.

The Amazing Support Team

When involved:
Event services
Mixed bag of clever, creative, intelligent and super-organised
Planning phase, week prior to the event, event night

Depending on the size and scope of your event, you’ll work with a range of supportive people who provide additional event services. We already mentioned the talent agency who is your BFF for all things speaker, MC and entertainment. The bonus is it won’t cost you extra to work with them, as their service fees are charged directly to the talent they are representing.

A good talent agency will advise the right speakers and bands to fit your event audience, and they always have their finger on the pulse of who’s hot and who’s available. They’ll even come along on the night to help manage the talent for bigger events – it’s not unheard of for celebrities to be a little, er, demanding.

Large scale events, such as the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, might have a Creative Director in consulting on theming, performers, music and choreography. Incentives Managers can be major clients for Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs). Event stylists can do amazing things to transform even the plainest of spaces into something truly magical. The key to working well with your support team is good communication.

Be clear in your briefings about what you want to achieve, and always ask questions if anything they say isn’t quite clear. Many events professionals speak quickly and in jargon, and it’s always better to check than make assumptions. You could also consult The Ultimate Event Management Glossary, a handy reference when you come across new terms.

Ensure you communicate any scheduling or other significant changes to your support team. And, you guessed it, give them an up-to-date run sheet so they’re fully informed on the night.

It’s Not What You Know…

It’s who you know that helps in the events management industry. Building great relationships and communicating well is no secret, but it’s crucial to your success.

It’s virtually impossible to manage events as a one-human show, so make use of The Periodic Table of Events to see quickly and easily all the contacts you’ll need to produce brilliant, memorable experiences, event after event after event.

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About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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