Being a student-athlete who was also working helped me to become quite skilled at managing my schedule, priorities and planning my activities. Although, planning (scheduling, logistics) has always been something I enjoyed doing – I was in seventh heaven when I was planning my two weddings (a ceremony and a reception in the USA and another one in my home country, including travel arrangements, accommodations and sightseeing tours for our international guests).
Today, we won’t be planning a wedding, but I’d like to give you some guidelines for planning an (corporate) event.
Based on a type of the event, budget and desirable location, narrow down the most appropriate venues and assure they are available on the date of your event. Is catering included? Do you need to rent any furniture or any other equipment? Will there be any additional entertaining involved? What is the lead-time and what does it mean in terms of all the aspects of preparation (guests, branding, advertising, equipment, etc.)? Delegate roles and responsibilities to your staff.
How will you brand and promote the event? Determine if you’ll use banners, promotion material (brochures, flyers, factsheets, freebies, etc.) and work on the design. What type of table decors will you use? Decide whether you’ll be handing out tickets, wristbands, badges… Will the staff wear any special uniforms? Will you utilize any audio/visual material? Do you need to arrange for any special equipment?
Who is your target audience? Compile the guest list. In case your database is not extensive enough, you might need to buy one. Will your guests need travel arrangements and special accommodation? Do they have any special needs? Will you provide them with “welcome” packages?
Put all the necessary information on your website or create a new website that is dedicated to the event. Also, create a registration form if needed.
Devise a marketing timeline and determine weekly tasks and goals. When, how, how often and to whom the invitations are sent? Where, how and how often will the event be advertised (newsletters, social media, TV, radio, print)? When do you want to follow up with invitees and help them with the registration process if needed?
Create an info sheet of your staff, vendors, and special guests (include their contact into, role, travel information, accommodation details, etc).
Craft a map that outlines the venue and a transportation plan (if there is one), and, if appropriate, point out any attractions/landmarks that your guests might be interested in if they have any spare time. Your guests will appreciate it!
Create a floor plan of the venue, table arrangements, seating charts, if applicable. Also provide the staff with name badges, and design event programs that will be handed out to the guests. Are there any other details that you can think of? Do you wish your guests to provide you with a feedback after the event? Create the form and make it available for them.
Keep in mind that there is always a potential for problems; is there enough time to plan everything needed for the event? Do you have a budget to buy a database in case you need one? Is your system designed to process increased traffic and is it backed up regularly so you don’t use any invaluable information? Do you have enough manpower to organize and run the event or do you need to hire additional help? If you are planning to have the event outside, do you have a plan B in case of bad weather?
Are there any moments/details from an event you attended that you’ll never forget?