Planning an event is a series of steps that can ultimately decide if your event will be a success or disaster. Whether it is a wedding, a business event, charity drive, or family gathering, making it a successful occasion where everyone takes back good memories is the goal of any event manager.
Creating a memorable event includes planning down to the last detail, giving a personal feel to the attendees, choosing the perfect venue, creating the right environment, publicity, a central attraction, and, of course, good food!
Let’s get into the details of how to make this happen; The events planners have shared their first-hand experience with us that will help us refine our event planning.
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“As host, conduct your own due diligence in planning your event to include developing a concise budget, research in selecting reputable and reliable suppliers, and working through the party flow, timing and logistics. In addition, have a Plan B because Murphy's Law does exist. You can have the best decor, dazzling entertainment, and most fabulous food, however, if the event does not flow or every detail has not been put properly into place such as making assumptions about power requirements that result in power failures during the function; or lack of proper budget planning resulting in skimping on items that you need to splurge on to make guests comfortable, an event can easily become memorable- but not in the way one envisioned. Memorable events and those that are successful come from lots of detailed planning and research at the onset.”
Greg Jenkins, Event Planner, Partner Bravo Productions
“Well-attended events require holistic thinking beginning with the first communication. Get people curious and interested in attending. Simply listing speakers isn’t enough. Let them know the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) of attending. What about the event is valuable enough to stop whatever they’re doing in order to attend. Be novel. Include something unique or a voice that is not commonly heard within the organization. The meeting itself can’t be all work. Find ways of working in some moments to digest the content that is being shared.” says Creative Director Jeff Rogers.
Rogers suggests a professional host; “A professional host provides a great way to give the attendee a voice onstage. By using appropriate humor and touching on key points of the presentations, a host can underline the most important takeaways from speaker presentations. Keep the communication going before, during and after the event. An event is a platform to have a dialogue. Dialogue is portable. You can move from live to digital to social as long as you keep it active. think about how to keep this dialogue going for 365 days until the next event.”
Jeff Rogers is an award-winning Creative Director and best-selling author. He is also the owner of the oldest school of improvisation in the US, Players Workshop.
“Hosting a memorable event comes down to the details. Sure, having a headliner or something huge will always attract a crowd, but it's about making it an immersive experience. One of the ways you can accomplish this is via promotional products. Whether it be floormats or napkins, branded merch and swag always makes an event more immersive. It also provides a memorable keepsake for the guests to take with them afterward.”
Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder/President Quality Logo Products, Inc.
Lex Brinkman, the Director of Operations at ReElivate, suggests investing in digital aids for Event Hosting; “Before you even think about planning your event, we recommend that you invest in hybrid meeting software. Thanks to the proliferation of hybrid events in 2021, there are now tons of fabulous platforms out there designed to make conference planning a breeze.
When choosing your software, look out for the following features:
● Networking tools: Most hybrid event software is designed to enhance networking opportunities via chat platforms, Q&A functions, and virtual lobbies.
● Online surveys: Virtual polls and surveys encourage participation by remote audiences and are great for collecting actionable insights about your business operations.
● Digital content tools: Try to source software that allows you to upload images, videos, whitepapers, and more for virtual attendees to access from the comfort of their own homes.
● Appointment booking: If your conference involves private meeting sessions, your software will need to feature a convenient online booking feature.
● Gamification: Keep virtual attendees entertained between presentations with gamification features.
● Virtual goodie bags: Everyone loves to receive free stuff after an enjoyable event. However, physical marketing materials can be costly and damaging to the environment. With virtual goodie bags, you can combat these problems through digital treats.
“If you’re new to hybrid conferences, it is also worth investing in a SaaS company with a responsive customer services team that can help you if things go wrong on the day.”
Establishing your goals in front of you can keep you on track; as Lex Brinkman advises, “Before creating a schedule for your event, you must establish your primary goals. Are you looking to enhance networking opportunities for your employees? Perhaps you’re looking to educate stakeholders about your latest brand strategy? Whatever the purpose behind your event, use it to guide your vision and come up with a compelling panel of speakers and engagement opportunities. Once you have done this, promote your event effectively by targeting key demographics and highlighting its professional benefits.”
Brinkman also says planning and scheduling each part of the event is crucial to ensuring its smooth flow; “Successful hybrid conferences require meticulous scheduling to ensure the event flows well and keeps people engaged. Key things to establish and communicate with your co-organizers or team members include:
● A detailed schedule, including speaker and networking sessions, breaks, and more.
● A list of delegated responsibilities.
● Social media guidelines, including when and what to post.
● Details about tech and when to use certain types of software.”
“Your team represents the beating heart of your hybrid event,” says Lex Brinkman, “So you must ensure they know their exact responsibilities. To make this as easy as possible, why not use a project management tool such as Trello to track progress? This will ensure team members remain accountable and do their best to deliver great results.”
“Social media can help to generate a buzz around your hybrid event and increase its reach. Before the event, tease followers with sneak peeks or create educational content about your content. This will enhance awareness of the event and boost attendance. During the event, try to post highlights from key speeches or panels to drive discussions amongst delegates. Once the event is over, you can continue to engage with attendees via online discussions or even promotional competitions. Whatever you can do to keep people engaged will benefit your brand and increase your chances of hosting another successful event in future.”
Lex Brinkman is the Director of Operations at ReElivate