Having worked in the Pearl City 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 Pearl City, 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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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'!
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You've been tasked with planning an event and don't know where to begin. Take a deep breath, anyone with any level of event expertise can take an event from good to great. Here is how:
For beginners, it is imperative that you do your homework. You must first generate an event plan and consider the building blocks of any event: target market, situational analysis, the 6 P's and planning.
Let's get started. Think very clearly about the people you are trying to attract. Ask yourself the question: Who is your target market?
Once you identify those that will be attending your event, allow yourself time to travel into the hearts and minds of your potential audience. Believe me; knowing what kinds of things they like to see, do, buy and eat will be helpful as your event plan begins to come to life.
Now that you have your target market in mind, let's take a look at your situational analysis. You will need to examine your internal strengths and weaknesses and your external opportunities and threats as they relate to whatever you are planning to do. You must be brutally honest with yourself when analyzing the various components of your event.
The next step in taking your event from good to great is to identify the 6 P's of event planning: Purpose, People, Product, Place, Price and Process. Outlined below you will find the questions related to each P that you should answer prior to diving into the planning phase.
- Why are you doing this event? (Purpose)
- Who will attend? (People)
- What are you going to do? (Product)
- When and where? (Place)
- How much is it going to cost you? (Price)
- How are you going to get the job done? (Process)
Now that you have identified your target market, have performed a situational analysis and have answered the building block questions of planning an event, you are ready to develop a formal event plan and begin execution shortly thereafter.
A formal event plan has several interrelated components: goal, objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, timetable and evaluation. Your written detailed plan of action will serve as the backbone to your master event plan. Keep it close at hand and refer back to it often.
Congratulations, at this point you have finished your homework and can now move into the imaginative, fun side of event planning! Take your events to the next level by identifying a theme and carrying that theme from start to finish.
Planning a successful event is no walk in the park. It is tedious work and requires an individual who always keeps their dancing shoes and party hat nearby. One who is forever excited about the adventure and who remembers that problems that will inevitably arise but the beat must go on.
You've got a plan, now the let the event begin. You are on your way from good to great!