Planning an event can be overwhelmingly stressful. After all, the devil’s in the details, and isn’t there a law of physics that says if something can go wrong, it will?
The wonderful thing about putting together a soiree, be it a small art gallery opening or a conference of five hundred sorority board members, is that it all can be pulled off relatively smoothly as long as you do one thing: plan.
Planning is the only thing between your event and your sanity, so for heavens sake people, do it. And read up on these tips for some extra event mojo.
- Identify your invitees. Who is the target audience for your event? Are you hosting a free movie in the park in conjunction with other local businesses, and providing the food for sale? Are you inviting students that study social work to a volunteer fair? Identify who you want to show up to the event. Once you know who you are planning for, you can get the ball rolling.
- Write everything down. Ev-er-ry-thing. Seriously. Even if you’re one of those people who operates on the fly and hates lists. It will make things so much easier. Keep track of every detail of every aspect-brainstorming a giant list of all possible things that need taken care of is a great place to start. From there, you can organize each part of the event-location, food, invitations, t-shirts- in separate categories. If I were you, I’d get a binder to house all the papers and scribbles and receipts.
- Establish the “why”. Why are you hosting this event? Determine a clear goal to help guide you through the rest of your planning. Everything should be done with the end game in mind, whether it is increasing exposure of your brand, relaying important information, or making money.
- Stick to your budget. Which means you should have a budget to stick to. This is a first-things-first kind of deal, because every choice you make is going to be affected by the cost.
- Manage responsibilities. If you are Large Marge in Charge, then it is your responsibility to make sure everyone else has responsibilities. Chances are you are not planing this event alone, so delegate who gets what job and then make sure they actually do it. That part is key.
- Attack early. It is never too early to start planning, and I mean never. Nailing down a venue can often be the most daunting task for some events, and should probably be your number one priority starting out. For others, the location may be obvious: your store, your arts center, your home. Once you know where the event is taking place, you can start coordinating the other details in accordance. For example, bathrooms would be a bigger issue for a block party than a book reading (although I suppose you could host a reading where there is pas des toilettes).
- Get the word out. Early notice is necessary for those you want to attend. Posting flyers, creating Facebook event pages, sending email invites, sending email reminders, tweeting-let the people know your event is happening and why they don’t want to miss it. The avenue you choose to relay information is going to depend on who you identified as your target audience.
- Add some pizazz. Make your event one for the Facebook post. Jazz things up with fun snacks, cool decorations, good music, nice merchandise for people to take home-the possibilities are endless when it comes to being creative with your event. It’s great to think out of the box and come up with original ideas; just make sure that you are staying true to your brand or image.
- If you want to panic, don’t. What happens if you don’t have all the time in the world to plan? Don’t waste any of the time you do have. What happens when the carefully crafted seating arrangement for your 400 person ballroom goes to shit the day of? Handle it and remember that it will soon be over. If you need the peace of mind, create a list of things that could go wrong and what you will do in that hopefully rare event.
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