When you decide to plan and host an event, you begin the event management cycle, which is divided into five stages:
- From concept to implementation, the event planning process is a step-by-step process.
- From action planning to implementation, the event is organized.
- Spreading the word and selling tickets are two ways to promote an event.
- Organizing the event: Ensuring that everything goes smoothly on the big day.
- Thank you notes and follow-ups after the event.
It’s called a “cycle” because it tends to repeat itself: you utilize the information from the previous event to start organizing the next one. (Unless you’re arranging a one-time event, of course.)
We’ll look at each of the stages in detail over the course of five articles. Every article will provide concrete “do this now” steps that you can take right away.
The topic of today’s chapter is event planning. Let’s get started!
Making preparations for your event
This is where it all begins. Perhaps you already have a specific events company Manchester in mind. Or perhaps you merely know that you’d like to host one and are looking for some ideas.
In either case, congratulations! It’s time to learn how to plan an event from the ground up.
This stage is all on laying out the essentials and responding to the following questions:
What is the goal of my gathering?
This will help you prioritize and provide you a clear focus for the next steps.
What is the intended audience?
This will have an impact on your communication approach, as well as the channels you employ and the tone of your voice.
How are you going to make it happen?
This is about establishing a strategy for the next steps. Do you plan to work with a group or go it alone? What are the must-haves and what are the luxuries?
You should have a solid action plan and a clear understanding of what to do next by the end of this stage.
There are ten things you can do right now.
Here are ten event planning steps you may start using right away.
1. Are you looking for some motivation? Start a discussion!
By far the most effective approach to get out of your rut and generate a slew of new ideas is to just ask for them. Fortunately, the Internet makes this extremely simple.
Look for a community of event planners. On Facebook and Twitter Chats (see #EventProfs), there are a plethora of event communities. Join an existing discussion or create a new one.
It’s not as difficult as it appears. Take, for example, Quora.com. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3 to ask a question there:
- Create a user account (it takes minutes, if not seconds)
- Submit a brief question. “I’d want to organize a [insert event type],” for example. Could you provide me some suggestions for interesting activities and themes?”
- Wait for the responses to come in.
You’ll almost certainly get a few responses, which will likely lead to further questions and ideas. This strategy works equally well on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Give it a shot.
2. Write down your goals.
Write out a single sentence that summarizes the objective of your event once you have a clear sense of what it is about. Something along these lines:
“I’m organizing this [particular event] for [reason]” or “With this [specific event], my goal is to [purpose].”
Continue to revise the wording until it fully expresses your genuine motivation. It should ideally be something about which you are extremely enthusiastic.
If you’re feeling fancy, print the sentence in large, bold letters with a unique typeface. Hang it in a prominent location where you’ll see it every day. This will help you stay focused and provide you with the energy you need to keep going.
3. Figure out who your “ideal” guest is.
What kind of guest would you invite to your ideal event? What does he or she do, and why is he or she there? Knowing who will attend your event is crucial to generating a compelling message and attracting more attendees.
So, how do you track down the illusive “perfect” visitor? You create a “event persona,” after all!
Consider a typical attendee at your event. Make a name for them that represents their personality (e.g. “Party Pete”). Make a list of their age, gender, motivations, important characteristics, and a brief bio. You could wind up with a card similar to this one from SEO Savvy:
Giving your attendees a name and a “life” reminds you that you’re planning an event for real people with real hopes and expectations.
You can make your identity as detailed or as simple as you want. What matters is that it provides you with a relatable visitor to focus on. Here’s a great tool for creating personalities that’s absolutely free.
This should be enough to get you started, but if you want to go deeper, here’s a wonderful introduction to persona development.
4. Select the ideal #hashtag
A hashtag isn’t just a gimmick, though. (Although it may feel that such at times.)
In a short, catchy way, a great hashtag will capture the essence of what your event is about. As a result of this,
Assist you in staying focused when arranging your event.
Inform your visitors right away what they’re in for.
You can use your hashtag a lot during the “organize” and “promote” stages, as you’ll see in later chapters.
Stuck? Consider using a tool like this one.
It converts a statement you input – such as your event name, a slogan, or a catchphrase – into one of several hashtag styles. It’s not exactly rocket science, either. However, it also checks Twitter for any current hashtag mentions to ensure you’re not using something that’s already been used. You don’t want to be competing with other events and activities for people’s attention.
5. Create a shortlist of potential venues.
While you don’t have to choose a venue just yet, now is an excellent time to start compiling a shortlist.
Start your spreadsheet, whether it’s Excel, Google Sheets, or anything else, and list down all of the local locations that you believe might be a suitable fit. Add the following columns to each of them to help you narrow down the list:
Cost. What is the price of the venue? What is the cost of any additional services you might require?
Location. How easy it is for your guests to locate and arrive at the site. Is it possible for your performers and caterers to arrive without too much trouble?
Services. Some locations have their own bar or catering service. Do you wish to benefit from this? If your event includes musical performances or presentations, make sure to include the following: Is there sound equipment and how are the acoustics? So, what about insurance and parking?
The atmosphere. You’re the most qualified judge in this situation. Some venues are simply not designed to accommodate certain types of gatherings. You wouldn’t put on an indie show in a hotel conference room, would you?
Capacity. How many people do you plan on inviting? Check the venue’s maximum capacity and any regulations to ensure that it isn’t overly crowded or too open.
This useful tool allows you to rapidly estimate the number of people who can fit into a venue based on various room layouts. It’s perfect for conferences and trade exhibits, but it may also assist with a variety of other events. It can even assist you select a specific venue for your needs if you’re in the United Kingdom!
6. Quickly put together a budget
We’ll admit, it’s not the most glamorous task. However, you’ll need a budget to prioritize your expenditures, figure out how much you can spend on promotion, and figure out how much to charge for tickets.
Once again, a simple spreadsheet tool will suffice. Begin with the fields below:
- The exact expense is the item.
- More information on the expense is provided in the description.
- Vendor: The person who sells the goods or services.
- Estimated cost: The amount you anticipate spending on it.
Actual cost: Once you’ve decided on a final price, you can use this to see if you’re on track.
You can add more fields for notes and other details later, but for now, this will enough.
The most difficult element may be remembering every single expense. While the final list will be tailored to your specific event, here are a few examples to get you started:
Catering \sDecorations \sEquipment \sEntertainment \sInsurance \sMarketing \sTransportation \sVenue
We also suggest budgeting for unforeseen expenses so that you are not caught off guard later. As a result, you’ll have something like this:
You now have a clear picture of your budget as well as a reference point for future planning. If you are stuck, Microsoft has a few budgeting templates available online.
7. Choose a date.
This is critical. It aids in the setting of cut-off deadlines for planning tasks and provides a target to aim for.
The sooner you begin arranging your event, the greater your chances of obtaining the venue of your choice and maximizing event advertising.
When choosing an event date, keep the following factors in mind:
Major holidays are coming up. You don’t want your event to collide with significant public holidays unless it’s a holiday-themed one. Consider what your event persona is likely to do over the holiday season. (They may return home for Easter, but they like to party on St. Patrick’s Day.)
Other things that happened. Search for huge local events on Google. Is there a festival that your potential attendees might go to instead of your event? Is there a large sporting event in your neighborhood that could prevent you from visiting the location of your choice? >
Once you’ve decided on a date, make a note of it in your calendar. Consider printing it and pinning it on the wall next to your motivating quote. This is it: your event is actually taking place!
8. Create a mental image of the day of your event.
Consider the ideal day, one in which everything goes off without a hitch. Make a mental simulation of how that day would go. What is the plan of action? What’s the vibe like here? Is there going to be any performances, speeches, games, food, or drinks?
If it helps, make a top-level event timeline on a sheet of paper with the day’s highlights. As follows:
- At 7:00 p.m., the catering crew comes.
- Tables are being set at 8:00 a.m.
- DJ enters the stage at 8:30 p.m.
- Doors open at 9:00 a.m….and so on.
The finer points are no longer as important. As some things fall into place and others fall through, you’ll most likely revise this strategy several times. The goal is to give your future event a sense of realism.
This type of mental exercise is also useful for identifying anything you’ve overlooked. You could suddenly remember to verify whether the venues on your shortlist even have dance floors as you imagine your guests dancing to an exciting track.
9. Put together your team
You now have a shortlist of venues, a budget, and a general schedule for the day. Here’s the big question: who’s assisting you in making all of this happen?
Some of you may be flying solo, which is perfectly OK. Others will require a core group of people to assist them in organizing and hosting the event.
Start giving the many activities you’ve previously planned and written down names. Who will be in charge of dealing with the venue? What person is in charge of the catering? Who will be manning the doors and scanning tickets on the day of the event?
As previously said, venues frequently have caterers and other staff on hand to assist you with your event. This could be advantageous on the day because they are familiar with the venue and have hosted a variety of events.
Another excellent alternative is to put together a package that will assist you in obtaining volunteers. People who are interested in the keynote speakers or playing band at your event are typically willing to help in exchange for – say – complimentary tickets.
Knowing your team and event personnel ahead of time will make the remainder of the process much easier.
10. Take a look at a step-by-step planning guide.
It’s now time to become organized and get ready for the next step. From here on forward, you should plan your steps.
What’s more, guess what? There’s no need to start from scratch. You aren’t the only one who is unsure how to organize an event. There are a plethora of checklists available to guide you through the key aspects of organizing and administering your event. To get you started, here’s one from us.
Allow yourself only 10-15 minutes. Examine all of the elements on the checklist and determine how they apply to your event. If you’re working in a group, gather everyone to go over the checklist. Other relevant elements should be added, and those that aren’t needed should be removed.
You’ve completed the task!
You now have a strategy in place. Now is the moment to put your plan into action. What do you mean by that? That is the subject of the following chapter.