- Get your marching orders Meet with people you are managing the event for, and discern what type of event it will be, as well as their needs and expectations.
- Head count Find out how many guests to expect.
- Budget You should be able to work out a budget and have it approved and funded.
- Venue How much space to you need, and what type? A hotel conference room could work for small seminars, or you may need to book dining venue for a fundraising dinner.
- Travel Will guests need to travel to get to your event? Price travel information.
- Lodging If the event is more than one day or lasts well into the night, guests may need to stay over. Price hotels and motels in the area.
- Transportation Coordinate your venue and guest arrival so you can secure shuttle service if possible.
- Catering Price caterers in the area, and ask for a discount for a large event. Make sure the caterer you hire can handle it.
- Sponsors You’d be surprised at how much stuff you can get for free if you offer to let local businesses sponsor the event.
- Entertainment A good band or DJ can bring a feeling of energy to your event.
- Celebrity Try to get someone famous or semi-famous to make an appearance – even if it is just a brief one. A local dignitary can often be prevailed upon to say a few words.
- Security You can book local security, or contact the local PD to see if any officers are up for moonlighting at your event.
- Theme Coming up with a great theme doesn’t have to mean holding a luau or an ’80s night’. For high power business events, find a way to promote the corporate vision in a fun, engaging way.
- Decorations You can’t go wrong with flowers, and a local florist may give you a discount in exchange for displaying advertising. Don’t overdo on decor – keep it simple and elegant.
- Contact person There should be an extremely available contact who can field calls from invitees about the event.
- Marketing You may have a marketing guru ready to hand. Otherwise, hire a advertising or marketing firm to promote large events.
- Staff training Hold a short introductory session, then set up leaders for different groups to carry on training.
- Set-up You should have plenty of help setting up for the event; your job as event manager should be supervisory.
- The Event
- Get there first You want to be in control of every step of the event, from hanging signage to overseeing equipment set-up and seating.
- Assign ushers If not ushers, then greeters – there should be a few appropriately dressed and recognizable staffers to mingle and answer questions.
- Be reachable Carry your cell phone and consider using a handset on a set frequency to communicate with key staff.
- Clean up You are ultimately responsible, so delegate, supervise and double check.
- Report Pay any outstanding invoices, balance the budget, and summarize for the powers that be.
Event management is a big job – there are so many things to organize, so many things to remember, and so many tiny details that must be attended to to pull off the perfect event. An event could be a catered family reunion, a wedding on the beach, or a seminar for 10,000 attendees. Knowing how to plan ahead for emergencies and cope with the myriad tasks involved can make your event a success. Once you have a game plan, you can proceed to following through with managing all aspects of the event with confidence. This checklist can help you plan ahead and see potential problems before they emerge, so your event can be pulled off flawlessly.
The purpose of the event is where management starts – if you can define the purpose, you can describe the attendees, plan a theme, create a game plan and ensure that all participants leave the event feeling like it was worthwhile. This is just as true for a small family get-together as a corporate employee appreciation event or a wealth planning class. Remember the basics when you are getting started: evaluate, innovate, delegate.
Start by evaluating the number of people attending, what they are expecting, and how to meet their needs. An elegant dinner party will require wait staff. A garden wedding – plenty of seating, An educational presentation; a large room with seating and a blank wall for a PowerPoint or slide show demonstration if necessary. You have to be able to come up with a projected budget that covers details such as venue, refreshments, and staffing. Innovate.
Be creative; make the event something people will remember and talk about for years to come, this could mean coming up with a unique theme, finding ways to barter services to cut costs, or even planning the event in a unusual location. Finally, delegate – event management can be an unwieldy beast, and for large events you will definitely need some help.