Across every industry, meeting and event coordinators are some of the hardest-working people out there. They’re expert event planners and communicators, and, ultimately, they’re responsible for creating experiences that bring the client’s vision to life.When it comes to event management, very few rules are set in stone. Because every event is different, each one requires a unique approach.Don’t just manage an event. Instead, make all of your events legendary with these tips for better event management:
If you haven’t defined the amount of money you’re going to spend on an event, then the event will define your costs for you.We need to get the most for our buck.
Start by using a spreadsheet, or simply a piece of paper, and add line items for every single detail that is going to cost money. Some of those fees are going to be paid out, so make sure to mark down any payment deadlines.
Also, don’t forget to leave a bit of wiggle room for the possibility of going over you’re planned budget.Be sure to breakdown your costs as finely as possible, then describe them. Note the amount you plan to spend and leave a column for the amount you’ll actually spend. By tracking these two figures, you can stop your budget from spiraling out of control before it’s too late. You can research costs for similar events to make your estimates more accurate.
The more information your initial contract contains, the lower the chances of misunderstanding and manipulation. This goes for the contracts you create as well as those you review from partners. It may seem tedious to read the fine print up front, but it could save you hours and headaches in the long run.
If you’re coordinating with an event planner, she might send a list of objectives your way. If not, work with your client to come up with concrete goals for the event. Make these goals as specific as possible. How many cars do you want the parking staff to move each hour? How many questions are you hoping to fit into one question and answer session? Use numbers wherever possible.
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning it four to six months in advance. Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that all vendor contracts are completed a few weeks before the event.
The sooner you can confirm the details of an event, the better. Start making calls as much as a year in advance so that you can lock down your venue and take advantage of vendors’ early-bird specials. While it’s important to make flexible agreements in this early period (you don’t, after all, know how many participants to expect yet), reaching out to venues and vendors early on saves you time, money, and headache down the road.
Communicator…check. Organizer…check. Artist…? We put the time and effort into event design because experience matters. Stay creative by looking for inspiration outside of the events world.Lean on your creative partners — like entertainers, furniture suppliers, and designers — who are responsible for the visual appeal of your event. Challenge them and be deliberate about every design detail.
Realistically, you’re going to multitask. You need to, life demands it and so does any event. You’ll be negotiating one contract, working on securing the services of another contractor, renting space, working out the details of the menu, etc. There’s always something, and it always seems to happen all at once.
A successful event is often determined by how well you can prioritize one task while also working on another in the background. It’s all about managing your time without getting sucked into your various tasks. Conversely, don’t become single-minded and obsess over one thing while neglecting everything else.
Despite what many vendors will tell you, everything is negotiable. Remember that with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate as low a price as you can. Determine your budget before meeting a vendor, and offer to pay 5-10% lower than this figure. Your vendor may put up a fight, but ultimately they want to win your business.
Every event is different. Vendors understand this, which is why many offer custom services with flexible pricing. Instead of asking vendors for a quote, figure out how much you’re willing to pay, and then offer the vendor between 5-10% less. This way, even if the vendor negotiates up, you’ll stay on budget and, in many cases, save money.
The main reason event planners spend so much time on site visits is that they don’t always have venues or contacts they trust in a given city. You could continue spending your time vetting meeting spaces with your own eyes, but you’d be better served exploring new human connections, that already have the answers you’re looking for.In this industry, connections are everything, so don’t shy away from asking for introductions.
Event management is all about networking. Stay in close contact with the venues and vendors you love to work with. When you need them, they’ll be there for you. Keep former colleagues and volunteers close too. Build effective staff and volunteer teams quickly and painlessly by mobilizing your extensive social network.
It is rare that an event is ever pulled off without at least one issue, an item may not turn up or an important person may arrive late. Assess the most important assets your event will have, and create a backup plan for each. If a number of issues arise in the future, triage them and decide whether an alternative can be found, or if it should be cut entirely from the event.
Whether it’s a little snafu or a big huge calamity, make sure you have a contingency plan to avoid attendee backlash. Unseasonable weather, a local traffic accident, broken technology — all of these things can derail an event.
Have a tactical plan in place for anything that might go wrong, because something will. And definitely have insurance in place. Most event organizers carry at least $1 million in liability insurance, even more for a larger event.