Here are some of the best insights I’ve learnt from over 5 years of planning events to help you to use your time most effectively:
1. Define the experience you want to create – Think about the look and feel of the event and how that will represent your business/your brand. Be deliberate with your venue choice, the quality of materials you use and the gifts that you give.
2. Work through the itinerary – even if it’s just to create a first draft. This will highlight the slots of time that you need to fill and will trigger you to think about what you will actually need for each of those slots e.g. catering, slides, video, handouts, post-its, sharpies, gifts, etc.
3. Make a budget– be clear upfront on the resources that you can dedicate to the event, this will help when it comes to conversations with venues and suppliers as you’ll be able to quickly determine whether items fall within budget or not.
4. Contact suppliers– now that you’ve defined the experience and the available budget, you’ll have the clarity to be able to cut through the many options that are available and focus on contacting the right type of venue and purchasing the equipment you need.
5. Map out the communication plan– spend an hour planning out what communications you’re going to send and when. You can even draft them in advance so that when it’s time to send them out you’ve got a bank of emails that are ready to go. Think about any ways that you can add value to the customer’s experience and plan for this in advance (rather than this being an add on in the final planning stages!).
On a side note… if this is something you know you will do or are even likely to do again, as much as you can, create checklists and assets that can be used for future events. Having budget templates, agenda templates and kit lists that are ready to go will certainly reduce time spent on producing these from scratch!