Having worked in the Honolulu event planning industry for almost 7 years there are not many surprises left – but occasionally I still get the, “They did what?” pass my lips! Why am I not surprised anymore – because over the years the number one rule for event planning is putting time into the pre planning of the event, and then planning contingencies for the exceptions that may happen?
So where do you start? As far out from the event date as possible as getting space is the first step. In Honolulu, where we do a lot of work, it is not unusual to be booking one year out at some of the venues, as they are booked solidly every week.
The first few decisions are the easiest. What is the budget? What is the event about? A party, corporate seminar, convention, festival, wedding, or an anniversary – the list is endless, but one thing remains constant once the event has a name and the type of event is decided, the next step will be to decide where to hold the event. This is where the real event planners stand out from the crowd. So you have an event – okay lets book a hotel is normally the next answer but why would you miss out on an opportunity to create a unique experience?
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Event Planning or management is most probably similar in analogy to planning a typical birthday party, where the preparations need to be set up in the most effective ways. However, there are more intimate details in event management that needs to be paid close attention to.
Nowadays, the term Event manager seems to refer to an easy yet sophisticated and chic profession. Yet in actuality, there are consequences and accountabilities that are attached to this classy title of being a service provider. The name suggests the job profile of an event manager involves organizing a special affair. Concepts have to be visualized, planned, budgeted, and executed in events that are often highly regarded such as fashion or beauty shows, concerts, corporate seminars, exhibitions, wedding celebrations, theme parties, product launching, etc.
What is good about this career and its gaining popularity is the minimal requirement for financial investments, yet it allows the planner to be independent and flexible. Personal traits, character and attitude are of more importance in event planning. The planner of events must possess a real passion in holding or conducting affairs, they need to be organized and able to work in flexible and often extended hours. Although this exciting career among the younger generation may have been seen as a sensational one, it also demands a substantial amount of hard work and effort. Perfection is a major quality that must be achieved in any event management and therefore requires a great quantity of patience, good communication skills and comprehension to be practiced by an event manager. Duties must be discharged with efficiency, challenges must be confidently faced and situations must be given due attention and reaction. Team spirit, leadership and organizational skills are as well required in event planning. Every detail no matter how minute must be paid close attention to.
There are also courses available to be taken by anyone who decide on taking a career in event planning. Eligibility courses usually requires to have a bachelor's degree in any discipline but most preferred are management-related fields, social sciences, liberal arts and humanities. Individuals who are of interest simply have to finish these courses that are offered in many academic institutional and universities. Short term certificates as well as post graduate MBA courses may also be taken. Major areas of principles and techniques must also be mastered to effectively perform and execute the duties of an event planner. These principles include public relations, organizational development, communication and implementation.
Training and experience also contribute in becoming an adept and qualified event manager. While at school, the aspirant may work as an event staff personnel for sporting festivals and leagues. If there are local music shows to be held, assist in the preparation. Internships also play a major role in molding a successful planner.
Upon completion of qualifying courses, the event planner can join established companies in event planning or they may choose to set up and start their own business. Employment are available from corporate and public sectors, government agencies, tourist agencies, hotels, banks and other financial institutions, private consultancy firms etc.
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A useful event planning guide needs a large section on what exact equipment you will need. Have you ever been an event planner at an event and had the spine chilling moment when you realised that a vital bit of equipment had totally been forgotten about? Yep me to. That is one of the reasons I put this article together. The amount of technical equipment you will need will depend on what kind and size of event you are organising. A good Event Production Company will be able to advise you. A good place to start is to think about what media you want to use to get across your messages? Meanwhile, here are a few things to get you started.
Ask yourself and your speakers/presenters:
- What visual mediums will be used in presentations? PowerPoint slides, video, DVD?
- What type of screen is needed, a simple screen, projector and lap top, or a more complex stage set with lighting and graphics? All of these may depend on the size of your audience generally the larger the audience the more equipment you will need.
- Plus, do you want, front, back or fly projection?
- Will you need a Public Performance License? i.e. for Videos or DVD's or music you plan to play?
Now for some practical stuff..
- What size PA System and how many microphones do you need?
- What type of microphones do you need: Lapel, Hand Held or Lectern?
It's handy to have backups too. I was at an event recently where there was a shortage of roving mikes available for a question and answer session. The audience was about 300. The client gave the organiser a significant grilling after the event. Remember that errors like this can often lose you and your company a significant contract. That is why planning ahead is so vital to run a successful event. Something that is necessary is a supply of mike runners, or mike stands. With many companies recording events to leverage afterwards having all questions on tape is vital. A few agile mike runners will ensure that everyone has a mike at the correct time.
How will the organising team communicate, can you use Walkie Talkies?
How many technicians will you need and can the Event Production Company provide the right amount of people resource as and when you need it?
Finally a really good event production company can tell your more about systems such as:
- Electronic badges,
- Data readers to collect bar code information,
- Credit card payments for offers made at events
All are increasingly being used at larger events. When you know exactly what it is used need, create your own mini event planning guide that is bespoke to your event. Sometimes the simplest
ideas are the best. Mine becomes my 'event bible'!