The event planning checklist
Event planning is a job that requires you to wear many, many hats. It involves excellent organisational skills, high attention to detail, resourcefulness, self-reliance, and the ability to manage a team. However, it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience- at the end when everyone’s telling you about the incredible time they had. Unfortunately though, that incredible time is a hard thing to produce.
That’s why I decided to put together this list of event planning tips, in the hopes that it will make things a little easier for all you aspiring (and experienced) event planners. We’re going to cover every step from conception to implementation and evaluation.
1. Identify your target audience.
Who is this event for? Are you throwing a corporate dinner with your company’s executives in mind or a product demo for your clients? Take the time to identify your target audience first and that will help steer the rest of your decisions in the right direction.
2. Set measurable goals for your event.
The quickest way to host an event that is viewed as a failure and a waste of revenue is to plan it without setting clear goals. Are you looking to raise brand awareness or generate new leads? Is your goal to nurture customer loyalty or simply to make money? Any goal is fine, just make sure you have one.
3. Specifically, set SMART goals.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound… goals.
4. Choose your venue and set your date.
Many, many event planners set their date and go from there… just to find out later that no suitable venue is available at that time. Do yourself a favour and start with the venue, then let everything comfortable fall into place.
5. Figure out your “Drop Dead” date.
Your drop dead date is the last day you can cancel your venue without incurring any costs. This date is important and should constantly be in the back of your mind, just in case.
6. Set a concrete budget.
Failure to set a concrete budget ahead of time is up there on the list of event planning mistakes. Don’t look at your budget as a fluid object that changes with your plan. Instead, look at your budget as the solid container that your plan must fit into.
7. Create your master list.
This list should include EVERYTHING from your decorations and refreshments to the guest list and transportation arrangements. When you start by building one complete master list it gives you a better perspective on how the budget and organization needs to pan out. It will also allow you to simply copy/paste certain aspects as you create more specialized lists and confirmed plans down the road. The less time you have to spend on writing the same information multiple times, the more you can spend on planning a truly epic event.
8. Check out everyone’s calendar – not just your own.
There’s nothing worse than finding out you’ve scheduled your event on the same day as another industry event or a religious holiday. So be sure to double-check that there are no conflicting events scheduled for your desired day.
9. Be flexible – even the best plans will require some changes.
Simply put, until the event happens, nothing is set in stone. The event that you plan out in your first draft may end up looking nothing like the real thing. The event’s location, size, content presented – all of these things may change as the date draws nearer. But, as long as you keep your target audience and goals in sight, things will be fine.
10. Don’t overstep your limits.
Now, obviously one of the main goals behind every event is to throw one that is amazing, memorable, the talk of the town. Unfortunately, budget and time constrictions will limit the lengths you can go to in providing that experience. That’s okay though. You don’t need to throw the largest or most expensive event for it to be a good one. Know your limits and strive to reach them, setting impossible goals for your event is a simple way to guarantee failure.
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