You know it. There are easier things in life than planning an event. You probably also know, that today’s event attendee always expects a high quality experience. So creating that memorable and ultimately rewarding event is no easy task! So what has these past 20 years of designing and planning events taught me. These are my key ingredients event planning checklist. Get these right and you will have well-planned, memorable and effective event on your hands. The checklist is created from the event planners and audiences perspective.
Here are my key ingredients checklist. Events need…
- A definite purpose for the event – why are you running it, what are its aims?
- Clear and agreed objectives – what are you trying to achieve?
- Good organizational structure – do you have good reporting processes and sufficient resources to do the job well?
- A committed team – everyone is 100% behind the event and in ensuring its success
- A high-calibre leader – that is probably you!
- Precise and detailed planning – attention to detail is the key; everything is done properly or not at all
- Realistic timescales – do not take shortcuts. Can you achieve everything you want to achieve in the time available?
- Efficient and effective communication – ensure everyone knows what is happening and when
- Contingency plans – what could go wrong and what is your plan for dealing with it?
- Effective publicity – that is interesting and targeted – if you do not tell people about the event, they will not come!
- The welcome – a warm friendly one is vital. A smile and first impressions count
- Excellent customer care – ensure everyone provides fantastic service throughout the whole event; if your staff are not good at this, the audience will not come back or recommend you to their colleagues and networks
- The event programme – speakers, artistes, attractions, entertainment, activities – should run on schedule and be varied in style and format
- The programme requires game changing moments – you heard it here first
- Ensure there is lots of audience participation – plenty of interaction. Audiences need to feel part of your event and not just a witness to it.
- Pricing structure – your audience can afford it and perceive it to be good value for money
- Use technology to improve your event and not just to show off or pander to the latest trending fad.
- Food and refreshments – are they appropriate and adequate?
- The look and feel – create the right atmosphere
- Venues – ensure they are clean, comfortable, convenient, with professional staff and great internal event signage
- A great master of ceremonies – this person will bring your event to life
- The event itself – make sure it is enjoyable and memorable. Your audience have had a good time and spent their time with like-minded people”
- For most types of events – think legacy – pictures, recordings, event summaries
- Expectation v reality – put systems in place to measure your return on event. The effect your event has had: as opposed to just about your event. What has changed?
- A thank you on departure in person – and perhaps with a bespoke gift or access to event presentations
So there you have it these are what I believe to be the key ingredients of a successful event: the things that will set your event apart from the others. The good news is that I believe we can all be great event planners but you are going to have to practise event planning. With practice comes experience; with experience comes confidence. Real-life event experience will make you a better event manager because you have fought those event battles.
Chris Powell, The Event Expert
Chris specialises in helping accidental, occasional and professional event planners develop the skills and confidence to design, programme, promote and deliver their own exceptional events. He delivers In-house event management courses and coaching programmes covering all types of public and business events.