By Ray Gosselin
7 Habits of Successful Event Planners
Some people make it look so easy. You know those events where everything seems to be perfect, not a flower out of place or a missing vegan entrée. But we know the truth… a lot of work went into making it look that simple. Actually, for some people it is simple when they plan well and follow some basic tips.
Start planning early
It’s never too early to start planning. More time allows you to stretch the budget further, by researching more options for venues, entertainment and other vendors. Especially when planning corporate events, you may need to start a year or more in advance as many popular venues are booked this far ahead and more time to review acts and artists gives you leverage with options and negotiations as well. Having to make decisions at the last minute rarely allows for both the preferred choice and the best price.
Plan with the end in mind
Plan an event by imaging the end result you want. What is the takeaway goal? Should it be upbeat or reserved, crazy fun or intellectually stimulating? Consider which venue, speaker, or other unique entertainment will provide the memory you want to create.
Always be prepared
Disasters happen. Mistakes happen. Bad weather happens. The test is in how you deal with it. Take the time to anticipate and list possible challenges, and create back-up plans for you and your vendors to be sure that nothing derails the event. Working with an experienced booking agent ensures that this partner will completely manage any unforeseen challenges that affect the entertainment. So, from having a possible indoor venue if the weather changes abruptly to anticipating a few alternative entrées for guests who didn’t RSVP their dietary needs, your stress level will be more stable if you are not caught off-guard.
Having strong relationships with industry partners who can help you when you’re planning a corporate or private event is a must. Put together a “dream team” of connections who will support you and can pull in favors in times of need or even just provide references and advice. Having these “go to” connections such as favorite caterers, booking agents, printers and florists will ease the stress of event planning. (Always remember to reciprocate with favors and support to keep these relationships strong).
Delegate where you can. Use on-site managers as much as you can to help with details for menus and set up. A booking agent will be able to not only take entertainment off your plate but will also be able to negotiate better pricing and be more familiar with the talent. Move as much as you can to reliable others, while still maintaining the cohesiveness and overall direction of your event plans.
From online event registration to event apps, use technology to your advantage. Work with the venue to see what they already have in place. Many larger venues have incorporated these added details into their websites and they may be able to customize some apps for your specific needs as well.
Communication is key
Communicate your plans and goals effectively with your boss, team and event participants. Be sure your instructions are straightforward and clear. Share timelines and “to do” lists regularly and be sure everyone knows their assignments and responsibilities (charts are great!). Follow up throughout to ensure everyone is on track.
Successful event planners know that the more you can plan ahead, the more options you will have and the easier it is to deal with any set backs or challenges. In fact, planning doesn’t end on the date of the event. The best event coordinators are constantly assessing and evaluating throughout the event, and already noting that information to ensure that next time they plan a corporate or private event it’s even easier.