I'm excited to have my friend Alex Alvarez share on the blog today about event planning! No matter what type of work you do in your business, nonprofit or ministry - there's a good chance event planning is part of it! Check out her advice as she shares 5 things she has learned while planning events!
Events, either big or small, have a lot of moving parts. No event is the same, yet each one takes creativity, organization and patience to have your vision come to life and for attendees to walk away with a wonderful memory that will last them a lifetime. As a career event planner, in both the private and non-profit sector, I’ve successfully created, planned and executed hundreds of events. I’ll be honest, some have been stellar and give me all the warm and fuzzy feelings when I remember them and some, well, they were downright terrible. In this article, I let you in on the “5 Things I Have Learned While Planning Events.” So, whether you’ve been planning events for years or you’re just starting out, these 5 tips are for you!
1. There is no such thing as too much info: When you are planning an event, you will learn a billion different little details. There will be "large and in charge" details and there will be "little and hard to remember" details. What’s important is every single detail may affect a guest’s overall experience and you (and maybe your team) will be the only ones to know those specific details on the day of the event. So, how do you share the knowledge?
SOLUTION: You inform your guests ahead of time and remember that there’s no such thing as too much info. Make sure your main communication channels have every detail that may affect a guest’s experience. Don’t forget to also have these details sent to registered participants in an email, so that they can quickly access it on-the-go.
Examples of items to include could be:
2. There is no shame in asking for help: Even if your event has 20 people, it’s impossible for you to create, plan and execute an event ALONE. On the day of the event, there could be random things that pop up that you will need to take care of or VIP’s you need to speak with.
SOLUTION: Having help is crucial. A suggestion would be to recruit a couple of people to know more intricate details of the event, so they can quickly solve problems or answer questions without having to find you. Then, it’s important to have day-of help, who can assist with parking, greeting, registration and doing little tasks that may arise.
3. There is no harm in trying: Don’t ever feel like your event has to be exactly what you saw someone else do or what you read online. Each event should have its own unique feel and personality, that reflects the company, organization or person who is hosting it.
SOLUTION: Try the idea you have and don’t take it personally if it doesn’t work out. While planning the event, you will have a gut feeling that you should add more color to the decorations, have a dance party or even add some jokes in your main presentation. Something will tell you that you should just stick to the basics and not do something out of the ordinary. Shut that voice down and DO IT. Your audience wants to feel connected, they want authenticity and YOU want your event to be set apart from others and remembered.
4. There is usually another avenue to market your event: When thinking about how to get people to know about your event and respond, explore outside the box options for marketing and promotions. Of course, you will do your due diligence and have the event on your website, social media and through email. However, it’s important to remember that people need to see or hear something multiple times before they take action.
SOLUTION: Don’t leave any communication stone unturned. Remember who your audience is and put yourself in their position. How would you get your information?
Examples of communication channels may be:
SOLUTION: Have a way for guests to evaluate throughout the event and express to them – periodically – how much you value their experience. The more you express that these reviews are taken seriously and how it will help determine whether or not you keep or change an element of the event, the more reviews you’ll get. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone collecting them at the exit – if it’s a paper evaluation – or sending notifications on their phone- if it’s through an app.
Prayer for the entrepreneur:
Jesus, You are a God of intentionality. The sun, moon, stars and all the earth was created by Your hands and creativity. Help me have Your mind as I plan events, that I might create an exceptional experience for each attendee. May they leave changed because I left no detail unnoticed.
In Your name,