What’s coming up next in your life personally or professionally? An anniversary party? A graduation? A wedding? A webinar? A large conference or product launch? Planning is the key to success and a good template of what to do now, what to do next and how to reach your end goals in confidence is an important thing to consider.
Events regardless of size can be difficult to plan, whether it’s a large conference event, a wedding or even just a small get together, event planning can spiral out of control very easily. However, good planning and an Event Planning template allows you to establish the main areas of your event and write all your ideas down and separate them into individual subject areas.
Whatever you’re planning, you usually want to do it right. The best way to do an event or any project right is to plan enough in the beginning so you are prepared to start on time, stay on time and – of course – finish on time.
Define the event
When planning an event you really need to start with the who, what, where and when questions answered or tentatively answered. That’s the high level – the 10,000 foot view, right? When considering an event in more detail, there are several key considerations that need to be well mapped out before any real detailed planning can happen.
What is the event purpose? Defining this well is the basis for all other planning. Knowing the event, the structure and planned high level details will help you set the stepping stones in place for the other key inputs you need for what is basically your overall project – “the event.” These other key inputs follow – attendance, activities, budget, location, and closure or “shutting the event down.”
Defining the attendance will answer several questions. What size venue is needed. What type of venue is needed. What food and how much. It will greatly help define the budget. And it will help you understand the scope of the project better by giving you a handle on how large the event is going to be.
What activities will the event include. What attire will be needed for these activities. Certainly pin the tail on the donkey won’t be part of a large wedding, but it may certainly be part of your child’s 10th birthday celebration. Understanding the activities will give you an idea of any 3rd party vendors that will need to be included in your event plan and budget.
Every event needs to have a budget. Failure to plan is planning to fail. No one wants to overspend on an event – even if it’s just a backyard BBQ. Knowing key inputs like attendance, activities and outside usage of vendors will go a long way in defining the budget and keeping your pocketbook safe from beginning to end.
A good event needs a good location. One that can accommodate the event purpose, proposed activities and vendor access necessary to pull off the best event possible. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) with 150,000 attendees every January in Las Vegas can’t happen in your backyard and your daughter’s wedding certainly doesn’t require the huge and expensive Las Vegas Convention Center.
How to shut it down.
Every project, every product creation and delivery and every event needs a solid closeout to ensure that all invoices have been sent, all bills have been paid, all wedding thank you’s have been sent out, all vendor equipment has been picked up, and everything is functional, handed off and completed. Don’t leave any loose ends at rollout time.
Summary / call for input
The biggest predictor of a successful event has to be the amount of effective planning is performed near the beginning of the overall event. Not enough planning can lead to a critical item not being ordered or necessary guests not invited. These oversights can lead to costly and time consuming rework that will throw your even off schedule and off budget. For certain types of events that can be devastating or even a show stopper and personally can lead to a bride crying in the corner or professionally can lead to a future $1 million contract lost. Whenever possible run, don’t walk, to a good template to help you get through the critical planning process for any size event.
Readers – what are your thoughts? What would you add to this list? Please share any even horror stories – or success stories – you may have.