You have been tasked to organize the next Thanksgiving party for the whole clan. Or on a larger scale, you have been asked by your boss to plan the company’s 10th-anniversary celebration. Whatever the reason, any event may sound stressful at first. But with a good foundation, planning one can be an easy task.
Ask the Right Questions
It all starts with asking yourself the following questions: Why are you doing this program? What are your goals? What do you get out of this event? Have similar programs been done before? How are people going to respond? Once you have answers on these questions, you can start with the following.
Assess Your Needs
Who are the people attending the event and what will they get? How will you advertise it? You need to identify the scope of the event and the marketing strategies you will employ. Consider the needs of the audience, too, and how they can be met.
Develop Your Objectives
This is a very critical step in the process. After knowing the purpose of your event and the people attending, find out what you want to achieve through the event. Is it a social event? A charity concert? Consider the resources and themes, as well. The clarity of the goals is essential for you in proceeding forward.
Organize Your Plans
When you know what you want and what to do, laying out the time frame for the event means how much preparations can be done before the day of the event. Use the timetable to allocate resources, contact suppliers, and foresee the event.
For instance, a large-scale event such as a rock concert in Savannah, Georgia may require a rigging company for moving stages and heavy equipment. It will also need lighting and sound production values and a crew to operate them.
The time frame should cover at least these factors before the event: date (is it convenient for the participants and people involved?), location (accessibility, tables, chairs, ticket booths, stage), and time and day (arrival of participants, and possible conflicts in the schedule). If you’re inviting a special guest speaker or performer, have contracts and negotiations settled alongside venue requirements and budget allocations.
Manage the Risks
A lot of factors can play out in events: equipment and electric failure, technical difficulties, earthquakes and other natural disasters, brawls, and last-minute withdrawals from performers and guests. You should be prepared to deal with these kinds of unforeseen situations.
On a smaller scale, these can be your quality control, food and beverage count, and logistic concerns. Think about the elements that can cause risks, as well as the possibilities and severity of such risks. Risk management should be conducted professionally and in order.
- Identify the elements that could or may carry risks
- Identify the risks or hazards closely associated with elements or activities (e.g., a fire breaking out in a pyro-related event)
- Determine possibilities in occurrences and the severity of risks if they do happen
- Prioritize high-risk situations, as they have the most consequences (e.g., stampedes)
- Formulate strategies in risk management (access to the fire department when a fire breaks out or discussing emergency exits)
- Monitor other risks and effective strategies
Depending on the event, (and linking the event to your objectives and goals), you can get feedback in many ways. You can do surveys online or personally ask the attendees’ thoughts post-program. What went according to plan? What failed? What can be improved? While things may (or will) go wrong during the event, preparation can smooth out things and perhaps solve the problem.
If this is your first time conducting an event, congratulations! If you do plan more in the future, take previous experiences as examples as to how you can improve and what you need to avoid to succeed.