Events can be very successful ways to engage, inform and motivate your audience, but they can also be a lot of hard work. Done poorly, they are more likely to reflect negatively on your communication project. To help ensure a successful event, there are a few golden rules to remember when developing your event.
1. Aims of the event
- Decide on the subject for the event
- Decide what you wish to achieve
- When will you hold the event?
- Where will it be?
- Who do you want to come? How many?
- How will you promote it?
- What do you need from your speakers?
- How will you brief them?
- Is there a budget for this event?
2. Planning and logistics
- Nominate one person to track what needs to be done, what has been done, what is outstanding
- Make a list of everything that needs to happen against a timeline
- Hold regular meetings to update the event team on progress
Remember to pay attention to:
- Timelines: organise everything as early as possible, work backwards from the end date, give plenty of notice to speakers, organisers and attendees, don’t panic if people do not seem interested – people usually sign up at the last minute
- Venue and catering: think about access, size of space, cost, facilities, equipment etc. If you are catering consider the amount of food or drinks (people will remember and talk about this), any special dietary requirements, costs, cleaning up
- Speakers: check availability, give them a brief (what do you want them to talk about, how long, running order), give them event details such as time, date, location etc, check their audio visual needs, will there be time for questions, any handouts?
- Invitations and promotion: once you have decided who you want to come to your event think about how you will reach them. Think about what they will get out of the event – list three reasons why they should attend – these are your unique selling point’s and should form the basis of all event communication.
Consider mailing, emailing, web site, posters, flyers. Do not use all of these channels, choose three channels that will reach your audience in the most effective way. Decide if you will confirm bookings – by email, phone or letter.
3. The days before the event itself
- List all attendees, decide if you need badges
- If required, prepare delegate packs/handouts
- Brief your events team on who does what at the actual event
- Create a check list of everything you need at the event (pens, badges, flowers for speaker etc)
- If required, organise transport
4. Follow up and evaluation
- Invite feedback from the attendees
- Thank speakers and all those who helped organise the event
- Hold a ‘wash up’ with colleagues to review what worked and what could be different next time