How to organise a successful event without the stress!

Organising an event can be stressful, there is so much to do, so I thought I would share some tips that will help you through this process. You know why you are hosting your event but what are the main areas that you need to think about and decide upon before booking the venue and inviting the guests? 

Here are some things to think about when organising an event to ensure that you have your bases covered.

Organising an event
  • What is your topic for the event?
  • What are you going to call the event?
  • What is your budget?
  • Where are you going to hold the event? 
  • When are you planning to hold the event?
  • Who are you going to invite?
  • How will you promote the event?
  • What supporting material will be needed?
  • What equipment will you need?
  • What support staff will you need on the day? 

Whether you are planning an event for 50, 250 or 1,000 people the numbers don't really matter. The biggest key factor in organising a successful event is PLANNING! Plan, plan and then plan some more. For small, medium or large sized events, a lot of the planning principles of project and event management are the same, albeit they will have a different emphasis on certain aspects.

4 simple things you should include in your event planning

  1. An outline or overview of your event - the big picture
  2. Create a checklist of what needs to be done, who is responsible and deadlines for tasks
  3. Know your budget - unless you have an endless amount of money you need to be aware of where your budget should be spent
  4. Create a timeline for the day so that you know exactly when things need to happen to ensure your event runs smoothly and on time - the fine detail

More things to be aware of when planning your event 

Time to rollout the cliches...

Networking event
Expect the Unexpected!
The Devil is in the Detail!
Leave No Stone Unturned!
Leave Nothing to Chance!

These may be cliches but they couldn't be more relevant when planning an event. With many years' experience in planning events, I have come across various different surprises during the planning of my events that needed to be addressed for the show to go on. Be prepared for anything and flexible enough to alter those plans if need be. 

So let's look at the cliches and see how they are relevant... 

Expect the Unexpected!

On organising a small seminar for 50 people, everything seemed to be set. We had booked the venue, organised the catering, sent out the invitations - everything was going smoothly. As the event was getting closer I contacted the venue to confirm the details and to ensure everything was in place at their end, I was surprised to be told that there had been a mix up and they had us booked on another date. Regardless of the fact that I had an email confirmation stating the correct date, someone had entered the wrong date into their system and they had another booking on the day we needed. This was not the sort of thing I was expecting but it had to be dealt with. So some quick thinking and quick phone calls to another venue allowed us to change the venue, rearrange catering and alert all participants to the new details. Thankfully, this kind of unexpected disaster is rare, but it does and can happen which is why you need to be on your toes when planning an event. 

The Devil is in the Detail!

The attendees of your events will want and need to be looked after from the moment they arrive at your event until the time they leave. When planning your event, make sure you have planned every little detail from your timings, the food you serve, car parking availability and how many chairs you will need. On their own these things seem small but each component of your event is important as it is the difference between a good event and a successful event. 

When it comes to catering, if you are giving your guests lunch, dinner or even canapes that could cause dietary problems, ensure you ask your guests in advance for any special dietary requirements such as being vegetarian, gluten intolerant or indeed if they can only eat Kosher or Halal food. You cannot (and will not) please everyone with your choice of menu but you want to ensure that everyone will have an option when eating at your function. 

Leave No Stone Unturned!

Who are your guests and what needs do they have? Will any of your guests be disabled and therefore needing special car parking spaces and does the venue have access to a ramp or lift to the meeting room? Of course, this is a sensitive subject and if you don't know your guests well, it isn't really appropriate to blurt out this question. One way to ask them would be "do you have any special needs" or "will you require any assistance during the event". This is subtle but to the point.

Leave Nothing to Chance!

Having invited your attendees and received their replies of yes or no, you could leave the correspondence at that until the day of the event. However, I would encourage you to go a step further. 

I always recommend sending a further piece of correspondence by email, letter or phone call a couple of weeks before the event and then again a few days before the event as a gentle reminder of the time, place and date. It never hurts to gently remind people as everyone is busy and it is easy to forget things, most people are appreciative of this little nudge. 

Virtual Assistant to the rescue

Don't Panic!

I know there is a lot to think about and many details to arrange but this doesn't mean that you have to be all doom and gloom or worry and panic. After all, this article is here to help you organise your event without stress! There is no need to be pessimistic, but you need to be realistic.

Think about the things that could go wrong during the planning or on the day of the event so that you can make contingency plans to overcome those obstacles if and when they crop up. 

Make a list of the things that could go wrong, whether they fall within your control or not, and plan a way or ways to conquer these minor issues.

Planning ahead and being prepared will ensure that you know where you are at for each stage of your planning and will take the stress out of the day of the event. You have done all of the hard work and then it's time to open the doors and welcome in your guests!

If all of this planning seems too much for you, just remember that we can help you plan and organise your event, big or small, and ensure that you can relax and enjoy the event.