The Various Steps Taken Before Organising an Event
The last decade or so saw what can only be described as the largest surge ahead in terms of technology, industries, connectivity, and outsourcing that this world has ever seen. There are more jobs than ever before and each employer is making sure to keep all of their employees happy in some way or the other. It goes without saying that in the current lifestyle, everything is high stakes and the pressures and stresses of everyday life is at an all time high.
One of the best known ways to unwind in the professional sense is to have events that help employees get together for some R & R. Who though is going to organise these events? No one really has the time for anything other than their assigned work, so it makes sense that such large events that include hundreds of people be organised properly. How many events have you been to in your time where no one really knows what is going on and they simply stand around waiting for things to happen?
Such events simply cause more stress than anything else. Event companies fill in this gap in that they make sure the event flows smoothly from start to finish and the main goal of the program is reached. That is the simple explanation to what an event company does, but there is a lot more in terms of nuances and little details that you might not know about. So in the following paragraphs, you will learn to a certain degree what an event company does, can do, and should be doing.
To get gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an event company, the below write up has been split into a number of subheads, each describing a specific role.
What are your client’s objectives?
The first step that every event company takes, and this may be even done before the actual planning takes place. It is the ‘Why’ behind the event. Why does this event need to happen? There has to be a set objective or objectives firmly in place before the event goes into the next stage.
There are many types of events that a company can manage- they can be corporate, personal/ familial, educational, marketing, launches, or even parties, the list is virtually endless. Each of these programmes have their own reason for happening. It is vital that both the party and the event managers are on the same page in this regard. The client may need a sporting event between various teams in the company as a means to not only showcase the sporting abilities of the employees, but also as a way to bring teams together so that they are well acquainted just before the start of a major project.
Most corporate events are done not simply for the fun of it, but rather for an important, underlying purpose. If the client is not clear on this reason, it is the duty of the event company to make sure they work out the objectives as it were. If they are not set in stone, there is very little that the event managers can base their work on. It may not really go as planned and the results of the event may not be quantifiable in the end.
It is also important to note that all the objectives have to met within the given restrictions imposed in terms of budget, resources, time, and manpower. Even these pointers can be fulfilled only when the objective is set.
If there is no objective to be reached at the end of the event, then why even have it in the first place?
Clearly set goals and targets ensure that your event stays in line and you are always on the right path and moving at the right pace. The big picture should always be apparent and you need to work consistently toward achieving it. Another blunder that clients seem to do is keep the objective vague. Why have this dinner party? To create goodwill! That’s an answer, but it is too vague to actually mean anything. What is goodwill? In what way is goodwill being raised through this event? All of these are questions that need specific pointed answers.
Plan the event
The next step is also the most obvious one, but sadly one that might not be always done in the best way possible. That is also where professional event planners step in. Here are a few steps that will make it easier to plan an event.
- Start now
The trick to effective planning is to make maximum use of the available time. Time is almost always on short supply, so once you are given the task to build an event, start immediately. If you are looking for a planner, contact them right away. The main reason for this is because, like all things in life, the longer the time spent in planning, the better the event will turn out. By starting early, anything that can go wrong can be predicted and fixed. Time is the best ally to have, so make good use of all the time you have at your disposal.
- Specific teams
Your event planner will be responsible for a a lot of the preparation, but this does not mean all of your work will be left to the planners. Form teams in the office and make sure that they each have a little bit of following up to do. Each office is bound to have some form of ‘Fun’ related team, if not, form one and make sure they are making sure everything is moving on schedule.
Lists are the life of any plan. Make a list of everything that needs be done. Details are important. There should always be a master list that event planners need to have made out for them as a point of reference for every step along the way. Lists are also a great way to prioritise actions. Some of them are important and others less important. Putting them on a list will help visualise priorities.
- What kind of event will it be?
There are a number of events that can be arranged for and each of them have their own purpose. It is however possible to have low impact events that are meant for nothing more than a celebration, as opposed to a high impact event like a product launch. Apart from these differences, some events are ticketed and will require some level of contribution from participants, while others are completely free and only require proper identification. How about the registration? Will it be on the spot, or will there need to be prior bookings? All of these pointers need to be taken into consideration in the planning stage.
Many events are themed in terms of clothing, food, décor, and other specifics. While most events are simply informal and people simply show up, it makes it a lot more engaging if there is a set theme to the event. It will help people get right into the groove even before they show up. A theme-less event can turn go in unpredictable directions and that is not something you want to see happen.
Planning the actual event will take time, so it should be started right away. Before the main planning of the event kicks off, it is vital that the client- you, are comfortable with the way the planning is going. Event planners normally have a formal proposal that they lay in front of the client that has most of, if not all of the specifics of the event.
In this proposal, there will be an itinerary with all the details and specifics of when, where, and how the event will take place. There will be lists with everything that you need to know about the event. In fact, with this proposal, you will get a fair idea as to what the event will turn out like.
Once the client agrees on the event and likes the plan, it is time to agree upon the budget. Based on the budget and its restrictions, certain things may be added or removed from the programme.
In some rare cases, the client might completely disagree with everything the planner has proposed. It will either send the entire plan on a spiral, or the planner, anticipating this, may come up with an alternate. If alternates are not available, however, the current plan may have to be changed and reworked. All of this will take time. The best part about spending a little extra time in planning is that the execution can come through easily and without any hitches. A good planner will be able to overcome hitches in stride.
Most planners will accommodate requests by clients to make changes, but such requests need to be reasonable. Event planners are experienced in their ways and they need to bring together several mutually exclusive parties and sync a number of teams with marked precision to ensure that the event happens as planned. It is in the client’s best interests to move ahead with a plan that suits them. It also does not mean you need to agree to everything proposed. It is your event, so a middle ground needs to be found and kept.
After all negotiations are done, the event can proceed to the next step
Venue, date, and resources
There are truly no limits to what can be done if resources like time and money are infinite, but time and money can never be infinite, so it makes sense to settle all of these issues before hand. Among the things that need to be settled once and for all, things that cannot be changed under any circumstance are venue and date.
The event pretty much hinges on these two factors. The date is the first step and should be a date that accommodates the maximum number of attendees. Weekends are normally most suitable for events. Friday nights, for example are perfect for parties, and dinners. If the programme is a day/night style event, then there a good number of people would find Saturday suitable. Retreats, on the other hand will take whole teams away for a day or two, leaving only skeletal support in the office.
Venues play their role here. Your event needs to be held at an appropriate venue. Outdoors may not be suitable for times when rain is expected and if you are taking the team to a different country, then it is vital that you keep the climate, food, local culture and things related to language and other specifics in mind before booking the event. The venue can make or break the event. There is no point in taking the team to a seaside retreat, only to have it spoiled by a rainstorm.
Give aways, souvenirs
Many conferences and launch events make it a point to give away small gifts that attendees can remember them by. In this regard, companies like google have paved the way by offering small boxes with exiting new items that go with the theme of the event nicely. You might not have the budget of google at your disposal, so think smaller. How about a pen, note pads, and keychains? They are too cliché, but safe.
Either way here are a few rules for successful swag:
- They have to relate to the event directly. There has to be a reason why they are given, and they should bring the event back to mind; coherence is key.
- Nomenclature is also important. Make sure the name of the company, the date, the theme, all of them are seen on the swag. There is no point in giving these out if there is no direct and immediate tie up to your company or brand, have it printed on the face of the item.
- Your swag has to be visible. That is why most companies give out stationery. They are useful and will remind the user each and every single time.
- Many events make the mistake of giving out items that are attractive, but overall useless. One such object is the desk toy. They are fun little things, but take up way too much space and get thrown out the first time it is seen as obstructive. You need your swag to be something that you would like to keep and use for as long as possible.
- Promotional items. Samples make great swag. If you are launching a cloud service, for example, why not offer a one month free, no frills attached sort of deal where it is both useful as well as the perfect way to get people talking about your services.
You can even have a stall where you sell memorabilia to the attendees. If the products are really worth it, people will buy, for sure.
The final days leading up to the event is something that is both hectic and rife with opportunities to make mistakes. That is why you should always have the event manger either report on the progress to you. In some cases, the client may even have a specific person checking up on the event organiser.
It is, however the main duty and responsibility of the even organiser to keep a track of the days leading up to the event and make sure it goes down as planned. Last minute preparation is not something a thorough professional would be involved in, but there are bound to unforeseen circumstances that crop up every now and again. Event organisers are always dealing with such emergencies, so they might be able to handle it easily.
There are also clients, and even you might be guilty of this- that lay out requests in the last possible minute and make it hard on the organisers. Such requests are not normally rejected, but if such a clause exists on the original agreement, then the organiser should not be antagonised for not obliging last minute changes. Where ever possible, it would do you good to keep a tab on the event company, especially in the last few days.
You might even need to market the event, if it is one that needs registration from outsiders. There are events that need to be ticketed, so word needs to reach all possible and potential attendees. Make sure this is done well in advance, so that those interested can come and be benefited by the programme.
Post event feedback
After the end of the programme, the event company will take a quick feedback from all attendees. It is vital that both the organising party and the attendees provide feedback as it is the only way to see whether or not the event has met every one of the objectives set in the beginning of the planning stage. The feedback can even be compared with the same event that was held the previous year. Doing so will give an overall picture of how better or worse the event was when compared to previous iterations.