If you’re an event planner, you know you’ve had about 20 moments of panic before and during each of your events. From not having enough guests show up to a speaker canceling the night before, there are about a dozen things that can go wrong. No matter how much we’d love everything to be under our control, some of these things simply can’t be helped; however, most can. Surgical precision in planning and the right mix of OCD and neurosis can get you the perfect event. Fortunately for you, I have these traits. What others might call a borderline Napoleon complex, I call years of perfected practice in making sure things don’t screw up.
I wouldn’t call it event dictatorship, though. Just like any leader who felt duty called on him to rise in the event of a leadership gap, I would call this event leadership: 3 must-follow event rules for dominating the competition.
Evernote – I’m obsessed with Evernote. It’s arguably the best cloud software ever created…and it’s perfect for event planning too. As Anjelika Temple of Brit + Co shares in a post titled “8 Ways to Use Evernote to Plan Your Next Big Event,” the app can be used to neatly create easily identifiable event categories so all the information and resources are neatly tiered and easily accessible by any event collaborators via Evernote’s cloud and share features. (It’s a mouthful of a sentence, but that’s how much punch Evernote packs). You basically cannot fail if you’re well-versed with this app. You simply cannot be unorganized.
Vendor – No event is a one man show, though I’ve seen plenty of managers think one man can handle it. One person can, sure, if they’re given a budget to delegate responsibilities to the appropriately talented people. Take for example the fact that you’re going to need graphic design work done, a florist, a caterer, a photographer, et al. There’s only so much you can do yourself and only so much you should do yourself. For example, while I could design invites, I know my time and energy would be wasted there when I can contract that out to a trusted vendor who can work twice as fast and get a much better end product. Same goes for any vendor. If you’re too busy micromanaging every step of the event, you’re inevitably going to fail where it matters; you won’t have what it takes to pull together the entire event because you’ll be too focused on the parts.
Locations – Having an event off-site can be a tricky thing for two reasons, the first being logistics. It is so easy to overlook what needs to get transported and how that’s going to happen when it all needs to happen remotely. A rigorous checklist and making sure each person is individually briefed (in writing) is one way to overcome that obstacle. The second issue is the lack of control you have over the venue. Here is where you want to be neurotic and run every potential issue past the venue manager. You also want to have your contract terms state your right to a run through the day before. This allows you the troubleshoot any issues pre-event, like lighting, sound, layout, photographer access, parking, booth and branding, traffic – you name it and it’s probably going to be an issue at one point or another. Note that if you have a great vendor, they’ll be able to anticipate issues and smooth them out without your delegation.
The one take-away piece of advice I’d give to anyone charged with event success is to recognize what exactly makes an event. A lot of people are confused about that and miss the mark on so many opportunities. An event isn’t just a tradeshow or a conference; it can be a product launch, a mixer, an open house, or a speaking opportunity. The sooner you recognize the face of an event, the sooner your can maximize each of these opportunities.
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