The most practical way to approach events management is to design and implement a practical events process.
Yes I know, this might sound a little dry, but if you can bear with me, I’ll explain why it’s so important, and how it will not only save you time, resource and unnecessary aggravation but will also allow you to execute an effective event for your business.
The use of processes within the workplace can be beneficial for a whole host of reasons, but, value of using such processes is often unrecognised and perceived as adding merely unnecessary administration work and after all, we’re all busy – so why would any of us want to add any more unnecessary administration to our day job?
Well, allow me to explain…
Below is an example of a tried and tested events process, which will help to explain in real terms why using a process is a practical approach that really can add value.
1. Agree Objectives
What is the aim, the target audience and the measurable gain?
OK, so this may seem fairly obvious, but first things first… find out why the event is being held! Is there a clear business goal? Are there SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed) which can be measured to establish if the event was a ‘success’?
- How many guests do you hope will attend the event?
- What type of guests do you hope to attend? Will they be new or existing contacts, will they be a particular business type or have a minimum turnover?
- Do you hope to gain any direct work as a result? Always attribute sensible timescales for the acquisition of new work (immediately is a tad unrealistic).
2. Set milestones
Outline what will be done, when it will be done and stick to it.
Work your way backwards from the delivery date, then create a schedule that details when the key milestones need to be met, and, equally as important, in what sequence. Make sure you allow suitable timescales to ensure that actions are undertaken in plenty of time.
- A venue will need to be visited, agreed and booked before invitations are sent
- An invitation should be sent 6-8 weeks before the event, so the invitation should be prepared and agreed well before this
- Marketing materials will need to be designed and agreed early enough to allow for time for production and delivery
- Plus, don’t forget to include contingency plans, just in case things don’t quite work to plan.
3. Define responsibilities
Agree who will be responsible for each stage of the process.
Again, this may seem fairly obvious but it’s a fairly common mistake. Not knowing who is responsible for delivering different elements of the campaign will really waste time and resource, which will almost certainly result in missing deadlines and could result in the event being cancelled.
- Who is going to confirm the booking with the venue? Forget to do this, and the event may need to be cancelled.
- Who is going to arrange what staff are attending and add it to their calendars in advance? If staff are not invited and cannot attend to network, it could result in the event being cancelled too.
- Who is going to send joining instructions to remind guests of the event details just before the event? If guests don’t receive a reminder with the event details, they might not show up to the event.
4. Create a plan and work as a team
Pull all of the information into one document.
To manage the event team effectively, it’s important to all ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ – and this document is your hymn sheet. By keeping it updated throughout and linking all documents back it can form the hub of the campaign and everyone involved will have everything they need to hand.
- Include your shared objectives, responsibilities, and milestones, but also keep all of the basics to hand. Has the venue been booked? What staff will be attending? Has the date been added to their calendars?
- Link all important documents back, such as the booking agreement, the signed contract, order confirmations for new materials and so on.
- Always work by – “in case I get hit by a bus” theory – and ask yourself could someone easily pick up where you left off and find everything they need?
5. Project management
Monitor the whole project throughout to ensure it is all on track.
Setting objectives, defining responsibilities, establishing milestones, and creating a global plan of action are not enough, oh no… You’ll need to assign someone to be accountable for the campaign overall. This will ensure that nothing slips, everything is delivered on time and that all stakeholders are updated throughout via a central point of contact.
- Regularly remind stakeholders of the agreed timescales as you approach deadlines.
- Consider sending Outlook ‘tasks’ to schedule such prompts if you don’t feel you would remember otherwise. (See this helpful guideline if you want to find out how to do this).
- Ensure that they understand what the consequences might be if they are unable to meet their deadline (people often do not realise they are part of a chain and they could affect something later down the line).
- Consider creating a Gantt chart to share with the team to allow them to see any overlap and linking of actions. Making the team aware of other team members actions will provide additional incentive for them to be met. www.ganttexcel.com have a good free template.
You see, there really is quite a lot to think about…
Through the benefit of shared knowledge you will be able to develop, design and use a process that works for the whole team, saving time, resource and unnecessary aggravation (see, I told you to bear with me, we got there in the end)!
Related reading: “7 of the best TED Talks for inspiring business leaders”
The development of any new process should involve all stakeholders to ensure it is mutually beneficial. Although the process must be designed to maximise the value of the campaign and streamline efficiencies for the business, it should also provide the best possible experience for the client, wherever they become involved.
What’s more, by setting up a process, and associated templates, you ensure that the same message can be delivered across your organisation and across multiple offices regardless of who is leading the campaign. But you must ensure, in establishing any new process that appropriate training is given and is communicated widely, and often.
To help you get started download our free event organiser template.
Now, you are ready to host your event!