Think HBR


Event Parking
It can be an arduous task to organise a successful event, particularly if it is large. The disappointing aspect for the organiser is that most attendees probably have no comprehension of how much work has been involved.
Those without function organising experience often think it is just a matter of booking a venue and sending out the invitations. The organisers are often not really thought about unless there is a really big wow factor or if something major goes wrong.
Every event is different and will have its own requirements, however, the following general tips will help you to achieve a successful event:
Getting Help
There are a range of local businesses that can help with your event, from assisting with one aspect to organising almost the entire event.
Even if you utilise an event planner, this does not mean that you will have no responsibilities in the planning stages. First and foremost you must have good communications with the planner and ensure both sides have a clear understanding of the type of event, its parameters and its budget. The event planner will also require input from you along the way with necessary information and options requiring a decision. These should be attended to promptly but with due consideration. In the end the job an event planner will do is largely dependent upon these interactions with the client.
Initial Planning
The first task is to clearly define what you are trying to achieve with the function. Finalise the type of event or function it will be – launch, networking session, Christmas party, exhibition, seminar, planning session etc. Next set the budget available, including both revenue streams (if applicable) and expenses. If it is re-run of a similar earlier event, these stages will be much easier.
Event budget
Set a budget at the start and monitor it as organisations progress. It is usually best if you can allocate some of the budget for unforeseen expenses as these often occur.
Date and venue
Much care must be taken when setting the date and venue as it is not usually easy to change these. When considering the date take into account public and school holidays, other major or competing events, staff and equipment availability and any other issue that may restrict the timing.
The length of the event should be estimated with some care – too little time will result in the function being rushed, too much time and the attendees are likely to be bored. Either can spoil the desired outcomes.
When you are considering location you will want to keep in mind the following:
• Room capacity – remember to include space for speeches and presentations, traffic areas and meeting/ networking space.
• Lighting – make sure it is suitable for each stage of the event, for example networking, dining, speeches and presentations.
• Parking - is there adequate parking? Will guests have to pay for parking? How far will they have to walk from the parking area to the event?
• Electrical supply – particularly important for exhibitions or when there is a heavy electricity need.
• Internet access – almost mandatory for exhibitions
• Accommodation – if some guests are staying overnight, is there suitable accommodation available at the venue or close-by?
Risk management
Create a risk management plan and ensure any appropriate insurance is in place and current. Create a contingency plan for factors outside of your direct control on the day.
Prepare a project timeline with tasks that must be accomplished by specific dates. These may include:
• When to announce the event
• Preparation of promotional material
• Selection of caterer and menu
• Selection of entertainment
• Selection of decorations
• Organisation of audio-visual needs
• Selection of accommodation
• Organisation of insurance or permits
• Preparation of a contingency plan for the event
• Organisation of transportation
• Organisation of marketing and signage
• Organisation of security
• Selection and confirmation of speakers
• Finalisation of program
• Confirmation of attendees
• Preparation of event material
• Preparation of name badges
• Preparation of materials to be shipped to event location
• Organising set up
At the event
The better the planning and preparation, the better the chance that all will go smoothly on the day. Often it won’t go exactly to plan, but most attendees will be unaware. Try to stay calm, even if there are a few hiccups, and finally try to enjoy yourself.
After the event
When the event is finished you will need to remove equipment and possibly rubbish from the venue. Depending upon the nature of the event, sponsors and participants may be thanked and possibly given a questionnaire for feedback. In the days following the event have a debrief session on the event, covering the successful aspects as well as those that could have been improved. If appropriate, a report on the event can be sent to participants and sponsors. Plans for future events can also be included.