Ok, so it’s true that organising a big event can sometimes make you want to tear your hair out and run for the hills.
With so many elements to consider, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Especially, if it’s an event that involves hundreds of guests and several speakers, then it will no doubt involve a fair amount of stress along the way. Here are 5 simple tips that should hopefully help to make organising your event a little less stressful at least!
Have a project plan
First, set out your main objectives for the event. What are the main aspects of the event that you must deliver? Work out how you will deliver those and all of the what, where, how and who’s?
Then create a project timeline, it can be in Word or Excel, which shows all of the tasks that need to be completed in the coming weeks/months and by what date each task needs to be completed. Working backwards can help here. For example, if you know you want to send out your invitations by the end of September at the latest say, and you need 2 weeks to get your invitee list sorted and your email invitation designed then you can add ‘design email invite’ and ‘collate invitee list’ in to your project plan for mid-September, to be completed by the end of September. Simple I know, but it does help to have all these steps logged on your timeline. Of course, you must make sure that you remember to add ALL of the tasks that need to be completed to the timeline so that nothing is forgotten. You don’t want to be flying around at the last minute trying to get your event brochure designed and printed within a week because you omitted it from your timeline – disaster!! The project timeline gives you a schedule to work to and and is there to help you, and will hopefully keep you right on track.
Find the right venue
Finding the right venue for your event is essential. The venue must have everything you require, so think about the number of delegates you’re planning to invite, is there enough seating, can the venue provide catering for lunch or tea breaks if you need it? Or will you need to organise a catering company separately? Do you need an area for registration, networking areas, or disabled facilities? Think about how the event will work at each venue you view and decide which has everything that you need to make your event go as smoothly as possible.
Define the detail
Yes, all those twiddly, fiddly, little details, really do make the difference. Think about the flow of the event from start to finish, from when the delegates and speakers walk through the door until they leave. Ensure there is relevant signage so it’s clear to delegates where they need to go to find your event, and to get to the cloakroom/toilets. If your event has speakers, you may need to think about the AV, microphones and TV screens etc. if these aren’t already in-house at your venue. Do you need to provide a welcome pack for each delegate? Think about if you need to organise any travel to/from your event for any important delegates or speakers. Also if you’re providing a lunch or dinner ensure all guests are catered for in terms of their dietary requirements.
Get the best you can for your budget
You don’t always have to spend the earth to make an event look good. Make sure the things that matter are the very best you can afford for your budget and it will make a difference. Don’t overspend on huge table floral centre pieces for instance (as fabulous as that would be!) but scrimp on the delegate badges. If all your delegates are walking around with badges that are falling off or losing their inserts so you can’t read their name it will look awful!!
Make sure everyone involved in the event is kept updated, not just the delegates but the venue, the catering, the florist, the taxi drivers, everyone. So everyone knows what’s expected of them and when. Then everything will run like clockwork and stress levels will be kept low. That’s the idea anyway!
And finally, remember to…..smile!!
Yes, it will be a tad stressful, yes, you’ll want to tear your hair out and run down the road screaming at times but enjoy organising your event, it’s fun! And when the event runs like clockwork on the day and you get lots of wonderful feedback from your delegates saying what a fantastic time they’ve had, you’ll be smiling from ear to ear (and then running to lie down in the corner of a dark room).