Event Planning Dos and Don'ts

27.9.13


Event planning is an area of public relations I've been reading a lot about lately. Within the next six months I'll be planning six events — five are related to the Independent Professional Project I am completing in school, and one is a networking event for the International Association of Business Communicators, Manitoba Chapter (IABC Manitoba).

In the early stages of planning the first of these events, I looked to my experience at the handful of awesome events I've attended over the years as well as the many poor ones for direction as to what to do, and what not to do. But event planning is not so simple, and there is much more going on behind the scenes than you might think.

Every single event is different — even when a business throws the same staff Christmas party year after year, an event planner can never expect the party to go exactly the way it did the year before. There will probably be new employees to invite and there may be a smaller budget to work with, or a new venue or catering company to consider. Basically, putting on any event involves at least a little bit of risk. Come event day, there will be some things that will most certainly not fall entirely within an event planner's control.

With that said, being highly organized and well-prepared, is imperative to the success of any event. Based on my event planning experience so far, I've also come up with some less obvious things event planners should make sure to cross off their lists, and a few things to avoid.

Do:

1. Research what the competition is doing.
Look into what similar organizations/businesses have done and whether or not it worked for them. This could potentially save you time, money and embarrassment leading up to, and on event day.

2. Align yourself with great people and partners.
All the best films, commercials, books, music and advertising campaigns are the result of a team effort on some scale. The same goes for events. Don't try and do everything yourself because your event will suffer. Share the work load with people with different skills-sets than yourself and who you know you can trust. Try to partner with other reputable organizations with similar mandates — this can boost your credibility and increase your resources.

3. Get online.
Being active on social media is a given, but so is having a website. Too many businesses and organizations rely solely on social media to promote events, but people need another online space where they can access more detailed information about you and the event.

4.  Remind yourself of the purpose of the event — often.
It's easy to lose sight of your objectives when taking care of the logistics of any event. Don't lose sight of why you're actually putting on the event in the first place. Of course you want people to come and have a good time, but that's probably not your end goal, although it can start to feel that way during the planning stages.

5. Take risks.
In some ways, event planning is a volatile business to get into. There are so many events vying for people's attention on any given day that the only way to grab people's attention is to raise the bar of what is expected. Put on an event that is different then what your target audience has seen in the past. Think of something that hasn't taken place at your school, workplace or community centre before. By putting yourself and your big ideas out there, you could be rewarded in big ways.

Don't:

1. Limit yourself before you start.
Before you decide on any one idea for your event, brainstorm as many ideas as you can and don't eliminate any right off the bat. Come back to the list in a few days. Did you think of anything else? Focus on expanding, not cutting your list of great ideas during the initial stages of event planning.

2. Give away free stuff just to give away free stuff.
Free promotional items at events are a good idea if they have a purpose. Don't spend a bunch of money on junk that your target audience will look at once and then toss. People should want to attend your event for reasons other than free magnets and donuts.

3. Take no for an answer.
You're likely going to have to try more than once to get the right people on the phone or to land a full sponsorship. Keep trying.

4. Spam people.
Invite friends and family to LIKE your Facebook Page once. Remind people about your event via email no more than twice. If they aren't responding they way you wanted them to, either you don't know your target audience very well, you haven't created something they value, or both.

5. Stress the very small stuff.
At the end of the day, if you forget a stack of brochures or a door prize, the show must and will go on. If you've done your best to prepare in every other way, everyone will be having so much fun they won't notice.

4 comments:

  1. this is great post. But the fact is, if you hire a renowned event planning company then there are greater chances that you end up with an extremely rocking event. event planner phuket

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  2. When we are planning to have an event, the first thing that strikes us is that who is going to shuffle the music in the event because any event without music is incomplete. event planner phuket

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  3. Nice information shared here. Must read.

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  4. Great tips about Do’s and don’t in event planning, but I have already hired best wedding planner nyc. I am happy the way he is arranging everything for me. Above all he asked me my budget and number of guests for event. Now he is planning everything as per my budget.

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