How to plan an event – 10 Crucial event planning tips

top 10 event planning tips on how to plan an event

Mastering how to plan an event takes time, but we’ve assembled these 10 event planning tips to help you on your way. The thematic key to delivering a successful event is understanding the importance of organizational skills. With many moving parts and various stakeholders, an event planner must adapt and take action quickly.

Before we jump into the tips, let’s quickly run over these 7 key elements which improve an event:

Involvement — an emotional involvement with the brand, the event, the experience

Interaction — with brand ambassadors, with other attendees, with exhibits, with the brand

Immersion — of all senses, isolated from other messages

Intensity — memorable, high impact

Individuality — unique, one-to-one opportunities, customization. Each experience is different

Innovation — creative in content, location, timing, audience, for example

Integrity — seen as genuine and authentic and providing real benefits and value to the consumer.

Knowing these concepts from the start will help set the stage for planning your event.

Top 10 tips on how to plan an event

1. Identify your goal

Determine what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to bring in new clients or, improve your company’s brand presence? Be specific.

The more precise you are, the more you can tailor your event to meet your goal. That’s why it is important to keep your goal in mind throughout the event planning process.

We find it helpful to write our goal at the top of every internal document we make during the planning process. This helps keep our focus and gives clear meaning to every action.

2. Assemble your team

Everyone on your team should understand their contributing role. Ensuring each team member understands what is expected of them is a responsibility that falls to the event planner.

By delegating tasks to team members based on their skillsets, there will be a boost in productivity and ultimately this will help you achieve your goal.

Additionally, research shows that team interaction is at the heart of team cognition.  In many cases, interaction and communication have more value than knowledge input when it comes to how effective a team actually is.

Creating a positive environment is a crucial team leadership skill that will foster a winning attitude and push your team to excel.

Picture of team in boat representing how important teamwork is when planning an event

3. Set the date

This may seem obvious, but you need to pick your date as early as possible.

There are practical reasons behind this, like giving your team enough time to deliver, or making sure you get the first choice of location. Having the date set in stone early also gives you and your team something to work towards. It will act as motivation to get everything organized in advance.

4. Maintain your brand

Branding varies, but it is important to match the look and feel of your branding with the nature of your event.

There are two rules we advise that you stick to:

  1. Make the designs professional
  2. Keep the taglines timeless

Use the people on your team who have a creative spark and let them brainstorm an assortment of ideas. A tip? First impressions are everything, and you want to wow your guests from the beginning.

5. Make a plan

It’s a bit obvious to say you need to make a plan within an event planning tips article, but it’s true. The plan serves to help everyone involved understand what is happening from the beginning and to help you put on a successful ‘show.’

Your event plan can be as simple as making a list of everything that needs to be done, and the order that it has to be done in. Or, by creating a complex workflow with dependencies and triggers, for example, on a task management tool that involves all team members (you know, like Cirkus).

Whichever format you choose, everyone should have access to make collaboration easy. It is important to give your team the tools to succeed with a clear directive.

Picture of event planning team, showing how important event planning tips are to delivering a successful event.

6. Accept the possibility that things might not go as planned (and Murphy’s law)

Even with careful planning and an effective team, there can still be things outside of your control which can complicate the process of planning an event. The main thing to remember is to always have a backup plan. Yes, a plan for your plan.

The venue cancels on you? Have a list of other suitable options you can try, the runner-ups you scouted in the first round.

A team member is ill on the day you need them? Step in yourself or ask a different member of the team to take over. Worst case, prioritize outstanding tasks and eliminate the ones with the least impact on your goal.

It is very rare that anything ever goes exactly to plan, so it’s always best to be prepared.

7. Set the budget: include outright costs and the cost of time

Even if your event doesn’t require a hard budget, it is best practice to create one for reference.

This will help limit unnecessary costs and act as a reference point for your team. It also helps you understand the value your event has created against progress towards your goal.  

It’s important to keep track of what you’re spending. Your budget has to be at the forefront of your mind (together with the goal), at all times while planning your event.

This concept can be forgotten, but you need to remember to budget your time. Time management is vital, so try to recognize when you’re taking too much time on something that is not crucial. Make sure you’re managing your ‘time budget’ effectively.

8. Keep track of progress

While you aim to give every team enough time to get work done, things happen which slow us down. You need to be able to monitor how your team is progressing, without having to interrupt their workflow.

Create a template of your planning process to make things clear for your team. Having clear templates will also make future planning easier and more likely to come to a success. You can reuse your most successful workflows, or adjust your templates as your needs change.

Keeping status updates and communication centralized. It will help keep your team informed of priorities and areas of issue.

Picture of railroad tracks signifying when deciding how to plan an event the importance of staying focused.

9. Marketing

The significance of marketing will vary depending on the type of event you’re planning. Ensure any marketing material you produce is tailored to your target audience. For example, if your target audience is younger, a good idea would be to consider using social media.

Everyone on your team will have different ideas about how best to market an event, so hear them out. Create a shared document for all your colleagues to contribute to and then prioritize ideas which would work best for your event.

10. On the day, and post-event review

It’s important to interact with as many people as possible at your event. Don’t forget that any opportunity is a networking opportunity and you never know who you might meet.

Just as important as being present at the event is seizing the opportunity to self-assess. The same day or at worst, the next workday, gather your team to make a note of what they thought went well, and what opportunities there are to improve upon in future.

It is important to evaluate the success of your event and how well you achieved your goal. No event will be the same, but developing structure and strategies from the start will give you the best chance at success.

By Stephanie Watkins

May 29, 2018


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