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3 min

Better events in less time

Every business that wants to create great events hopes that clients will enjoy them, prospects will love them and that the team can enjoy the journey.

These are the kind of events that spring to mind as the ones you want to go to, rather than the awkward networking events that you dread. They leave you with something of value.

Whilst a great event may be wonderful to be a part of, organising it can be a different story. Planning an event can feel like a battle against time. There are high expectations and you want your event to be memorable for all the right reasons, but often compromises have to be made.

For some, planning is part of the day job and for others, it’s a delegated task. Either way, the events you’re involved with fall into one of two categories; memorable for the right reasons, or not.

The biggest challenge is to make enough time to plan and organise. Failure to do so has significant consequences. These could be; a missed window for gathering dietary requirements. Forgetting to place an order for some equipment you need. Forgetting an extra delegate. Or you end up spending an afternoon dashing around the shops for the adapter you need to be able to present without technical hiccups.

All added pressures that could be avoided.

Using your time effectively

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!

It can be challenging

There will always be challenges when you’re working with limited time, the most likely are going to be:

  • Availability of venues
  • Sticking to your budget
  • Time frames for delivery of equipment/print items
  • Making the time for extra special touches – e.g. handwritten notes

Knowing what you can and can’t compromise on will help to deal with these challenges and will help to speed up your decision making.  For us, the customer experience has to come first so this is always at the centre of our decision making. What are the things you’re willing to move on and what are the things that you’re set on? It’s good to be clear on these.

What you can do…

Use this list as a starting point for your next event, it won’t be perfect but add to it, make it your own – saving yourself time and headache for the next one.

The reality of making sure nothing is missed and creating an exceptional experience is one that falls down to discipline in the detail.

Avoid the pain of missing things or having lots of last-minute stress by giving yourself the best chance of success. Have a clear checklist. Make a defined plan and manage your time diligently. We promise you’ll enjoy it more too.