Event planning is not for the faint-hearted, especially if on the day, at the 11th hour, you realise that you have forgotten something important. Worse still, in the middle of the event, you notice that something vitally important is missing. Mistakes happen but you may wonder as you reflect on the event, how you managed to miss something so obvious!
But here are the essentials i.e. the stuff you really don’t want to miss…
Food and drink is very important – hungry delegates or guests are not happy ones. It can be easy to miss some of the finer points when catering for an event:
Intolerances and allergies – the list of what we can’t stomach seems to be growing by the day and as an event organiser, you need to be uber-confident your catering team is up to speed. Most delegates or guests will let you know if they have any special dietary requirements but make sure you ask too because fore warned is fore armed. However, you may get someone who rolls up on the day and tells you they are a gluten intolerant vegetarian.
Feed staff and volunteers too – with any event, our prime goal is to ensure that our guests or delegates are well-fed but it can mean we forget about the staff or volunteers. Make sure you have catering for them too.
The biggest drain on energy on the day of the event is getting stuff from A to B:
Trollies – frankly, the one thing that every event organiser needs are a set of wheels. Moving stuff around is a big drain on your strength on the day and a set of wheels such as trolley/box on wheels etc. is worth its weight in gold. For heavier items, you will need to hire heavier trollies or carts.
An un-detailed schedule – it might be as clear as day to you, but is your schedule clear to others? Miscommunication or no communication at all are two things that could be the nail in the coffin of your event, with people not being where they should be at the time they should be. Planning an event takes time and organisation.
Printed master sheet – there is a lot detail to your event, from essential mobile phone numbers for use in an ‘emergency’, Wi-Fi passwords and so on. You may have them, but if the chef needs them because there is a vital ingredient missing and needs to know where the nearest supermarket is, or there is another piece of information someone desperately needs, how are they to get hold of you?
Name tags – a small but important detail. Delegates and guests like to know who they are talking to.
Music permits – do you need a licence to play music? The venue may have a licence or permit. Check with them before the event.
Emergency kit – scissors, sticky tap, safety pins… you name it, you will need it on the day so have a kit of ‘bits and bobs’ stashed away.
One of major mishap of events is when communication fails:
Wi-Fi passwords – essential for everyone, staff and delegates
Charging stations – for mobile phones and walkie-talkies
Walkie talkies – essential if your event is over several venues or locations
And finally, review and report on your event
An important aspect of event planning is reviewing the event and de-briefing staff and volunteers after the event has drawn to a close.
De-briefing is important for one singular reason – feedback from event staff can make all the difference to the popularity and success of future events. They can also have some great suggestions or ideas too.
With delegate feedback, you can create and publish a post-event report, an important feature in planning future events. Hopefully, you are also asking your delegates or guests to evaluate the event and their feedback is essential in making changes to future events.
We wish to thank NCC Home Learning for their research material for this article. NCC Home Learning offer a range of courses and diplomas online. Their Event Management Diploma is one of its most popular courses and because students learn from home and in their own time, they can study for qualifications and skills without giving up work.