Creating an event is hard. There’s so much to consider. So much that could go wrong. And that’s just with a small event. The bigger the event, the bigger the risk and it can be daunting to even know where to start. So I wanted to share with you 10 tips I’ve learned along the way to ensure your next event is a huge success.
- Don’t create too early
Often the mistake is made of starting your job with the venue or theme. This is important, of course, but before you start it is really important to ask the question ‘why?’ Why are we doing this event? Why will people want to attend?
Ask as many questions as you can and collate that information into something that you can refer back to. At the beginning of the process, you must fully understand what the intended outcome is. The WHY?
- Develop a strategy
Now that you’ve got your ‘why’, you’ll need to shape it into a simple strategy that will allow you to build the event from the ground up. In a way, the strategy is the vision (or the end point) and it should map out a simple way of getting to your desired outcomes. Take your thinking, research and communication and put it into a one-page strategy. It will really help you to stay on track and communicate with your stakeholders clearly.
- Understand your audience
Do you really understand who your audience is? You might carefully consider what food to serve or what venue to use, but how often are you making decisions based on what you like and not what your audience needs in order to meet the event’s objectives?
It’s so important to really understand your audience. My favourite way to do this: imagine your audience is one person and write a one-page description about who they are. This might include facts like they’re female, 29 years old etc. But it can also include fun stuff like they love G&Ts or their favourite colour is green. The more you can describe them, the more you will understand them. Create an event that’s right for them.
- Bring your stakeholders along for the ride
Collaboration is one of the cornerstones of delivering a successful event. Often you’ll have multiple stakeholders that you need to consider and get on the same page as you. Your stakeholders might include organising committees, your boss, your client, suppliers, even your own colleagues. It’s critical that they know what’s happening each step of the way so there are no surprises. For example, show them your strategy and get them to agree on it early in the piece. It will save you mountains of stress later on.
- Plan plan plan. Prepare prepare prepare
The secret to a flawless execution is in the planning and preparation. If you can really think through the event in detail before you go onsite, you’ll be in a better position to manage the inevitable ‘obstacles’ that you can’t prepare for. Painstakingly plan every detail so the unexpected becomes less of a burden. A good rule of thumb is; if for some reason, suddenly, you can’t be on-site could someone step in, take your notes and run with it? Without needing any handover? If you can say yes, then you’re ready to begin…
- Be ready to begin
Creating an experience or event can be hard. Long hours and pumping adrenaline are exhausting. No matter how busy you are in the lead up, make sure you are ready to begin. That means sleep well, stay hydrated and try to keep a clear head. No-one will benefit if you’re still writing nametags at 3am when bump-in is in 3 hours. Start the delivery of your event fresh.
- Allow the event to manage itself, so you can manage the fires
If you’re well prepared, management of the event will take care of itself. The only thing you should be doing onsite is putting out the fires that will spark. Live events are like live theatre or television; there will always be something that happens that you’re not expecting. That’s part of the thrill. It’s probably why you love your job in the first place. So don’t worry if things are going wrong. Just fix them and move on, ready for the next fire.
- Say thank you
I know this one sounds pretty obvious, but in the events industry relationships are critical. A client of mine, who is the CEO of a multi million-dollar company, personally thanks every crewmember after each and every event. This assures him loyalty and hard work on his projects. It’s also just good manners and as we all know, good manners go a long way. So when it’s over, stop. Smile. And thank everyone.
- Debrief, measure, analyse
When the craziness is over you might feel like breathing a sigh of relief and moving on to the next thing. But you’ll never get better unless you take a moment to discuss and analyse how you went. This is true for you as an individual and for the wider team involved. At Aesthetic, we survey everyone involved in an event, from client stakeholders to our suppliers. The information we gather from that exercise is invaluable.
Your measurement should also link back to your strategy. Did you meet your objectives? As part of your strategy, what did success look like? Did you hit those benchmarks? Measuring your level of success is the only way to ensure that next time, you’ll do an even better job.
- Start thinking about ‘what’s next?’
I like to think of these 10 steps as a circle. So really, number 10 takes us back to number 1 – ask lots and lots of questions. Take the information that you learned and start to think of the next step in the journey towards meeting your overall objectives. It’s also a great way to get over the inescapable post event blues.
Good luck with your next event. I hope some of this advice helps to make it magical, flawless and most of all highly successful.
For more information on what we do visit: www.youraesthetic.com.au