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Prep Notes - Foolproof tactics to plan your event

Blog post   •   Jun 28, 2018 10:02 GMT

A study by the journal of experimental social psychology found that meeting face-to-face is 34 times more effective than email. But we don’t need a study to know the lasting impact of an awesome event.

However, setting one up takes precision planning. From choosing a venue to selecting the right keynote speaker, the stakes are high. In these high-pressure situations, it’s easy to forget the vital components that make an event run smoothly from start to finish.

CWT Meetings and Events organises 38,500 projects for customers every year, across all industry sectors, globally. From not leaving time to set up properly or choosing the wrong size venue, the same mistakes arise time and again. Here’s how to tackle them head-on, and pull off a successful gathering.

1. Keep up with expectations

Always start by knowing what your attendees want. Steer clear of technical jargon or off-topic speeches and keep people in-the-know at every juncture. No meeting’s too small for a detailed itinerary and several means of communication.

2. Leave time to set-up

Technical problems are an event planner’s worst nightmare. Allow ample time to set up, even if it means hiring the venue 24-hours before the big day. That way, you can be sure you’re not left rushing through a sound and light-check an hour before you’re due to start. The last thing you want is a screeching microphone or faulty projection.

Crowd Control: Choose the right-sized venue 

3. Match the number of attendees to the venue

Standing in the back of a crammed room, or dotted around a cavernous auditorium several rows from the next person, are equally detrimental. You want to strike the perfect ratio of people to space.

How? Set the RSVP date well in advance to receive a complete list of attendees, so you can find a suitable venue. There’s a Swedish word, ‘lagom’ which means ‘just the right amount.’ That’s what you’re after.

4. Is it a good time to host?

Choosing the right date is crucial. Eliminate dates with high competition from a similar event. Avoid bank holidays and public holidays and choose dates that are favourable for PR and marketing, like international awareness days.

Eye on the supplies: Check for delivery times and hidden fees

5. Keep a hawk’s eye on suppliers

There’s no harm in coming across like a stalker and triple-checking with suppliers and vendors. That way you can prevent hidden charges or a sudden lack of availability. Have checkpoints in your schedule to make sure vendors deliver on time, at the correct quantities and with no hidden fees. With so much going on and so many different suppliers, double-checking is imperative.

6. Have a back-up plan

If you’re hosting your event outside, choose a venue with indoor space in case it buckets down with rain. But rain’s not the only thing that could go wrong. Have a service continuity plan to work against obstacles like transport strikes.

Speak Easy: Brief your speakers to stay on topic and on time

7. Brief your speakers

Event planners often reach out to guest speakers with a specific expertise and let them prepare a speech themselves. This can backfire big-time. It can end up not being tailored to the event. Brief your guest speaker to make sure they connect with your audience and stay on topic.

8. Keep clients in the know

Nothing’s more stressful for a client than being under-informed. Have one person as a point of contact and send regular updates to them. That includes changes to the budget. Communication will allow better crisis support, should the event not go according to plan.

9. Objectives – let’s keep it real!

When thinking up a strategy, think of the event as a puzzle piece. Implement measurable and realistic goals. All objectives should be straightforward and measurable in order to quantify the success of the event.

Blog author: Malin Nilsson, Director Events and Sales, CWT Meetings and Events

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