Co-ordinating My First Event — 3 Lessons Learnt

A beautiful setting at the IoD

Event planning; organisation at its finest.

There’s a wealth of components that have to be meticulously managed and co-ordinated in order to pull off a smooth event; venue, theme, content, speakers, invites, landing page, food, drink, decoration, badges, collateral, goody bags, pre and post event communication, videographer, photographer…the list goes on. Most organisational elements of event management are actually common sense but when it’s your first event sometimes these can get overlooked unless you have a good system in place.

So what are my top 3 tips?

1. Have your organisational document templates set out pre-event
It’s really important to have an overview of everything that needs to be done, bought and set in place. It’s best to have these documents saved to a cloud folder that you can access anywhere. The five documents I created were:

>> Weekly Event Checklist (Weekly list of actions to complete)
>> Budget Sheet (List of every detail paid for)
>> Event Overview (Summary of event i.e. venue, date, speakers, timings) 
>> Key Contacts (List of all contacts and details i.e. speakers, suppliers e.t.c)
>> Communications Schedule (Deadlines for comms)

This way, not only do you have an overview of the whole event, but any colleague could take over should you be absent.

Top Tip: Keep track of ALL invoices paid and on which date in your ‘Budget Sheet’ as you go along. This may seem like common sense but it’s easy to let it slip as more and more elements get confirmed.

2. Drive, drive, drive attendance 
Attendance is one of the biggest challenges of these corporate events. Executives are taking time out of their busy schedules for your event. So make sure that there’s something in it for them — interesting speakers and content relevant to their industry, free food and drink, giveaways or even a prize draw. Don’t forget to stress that corporate events are a great networking opportunity for execs to meet people in similar industries at the same level as themselves. Expect a 50–60% drop out rate from registrations.

Top Tip: You and your Sales Team should be personally calling every invitee and registered attendee. Connecting with your attendees means they’re more likely to come and meet you at the event. They will probably also appreciate the extra effort.

3. Pre and post event communication is crucial
Prior to the event, make sure that you reach out to invitees multiple times via email but be careful not to bombard them! It’s a good idea to send a ‘Save the Date’ followed by two ‘Invitations’ and then a ‘Final Reminder’ depending on how many weeks are left until the event. If invitees register, always send a reminder to them 24–48 hours prior to the event.

After the event, remember to follow-up as soon as possible whilst the event is still fresh in the attendees minds. In addition to a thank you, you can send a whitepaper or some form of collateral relevant to the event theme as follow up email number two.

Top Tip: We all love a branded header in marketing for awareness but sometimes just a simple text email rather than a html gives a personal touch and may have a higher chance of being opened.

Lastly…

I’ve learnt a lot throughout this process, these are just the top 3 things I wanted to share. The aim is to improve on each event I co-ordinate and hopefully with time this will become apparent! Thanks to Clare G who’s taught me the tricks of the trade and Mark U for giving me the opportunity to plan a corporate event for Datapipe. Oh… and Tony C, thanks for letting me bombard you with ideas every five minutes.

Your thoughts…
Feel free to comment with your favourite tips for smooth event management!

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