GUIDE FOR A SUCCESSFUL EVENT

WHO & WHY

Why we are doing this, what problem/s are we trying to solve?

There is no point in running an event just for the sake of it.

Once you have decided what these events can achieve we can set some objectives against which we measure the effective of the event and to keep preparations on track.

Be sure to check that the objectives set are SMART:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timed

The audience are the most important people involved in any type of event. Even the most expensive, technically brilliant shows are worth little if they are not tailored to the audience.

You will need to decide:

A profile of who you want to attend.
Things such as who they work for, what they do, how they influence the problem you are trying to resolve, how their behaviours might change as a result of attending the event, levels of knowledge of you and your subject matter, company, event subject/s, ages, nationalities, sex, preconceptions and resistances, time pressures; Why they would want to attend; What they would be looking to get out of the event;

Your SMART objectives together with your audience profile will now be used to guide you in deciding the format of your event and the key messages to include in any event promotions. Correctly, form must always follow function.

FORMAT

This is where planning for many events start. Our objectives and audience profile provides the function, the format will be guided by this.

And don't forget the social side, the evenings are very useful opportunities for teambuilding and bonding.

 

THE VENUE

The quality, style, facilities of the chosen venue will have a significant impact on the success or otherwise of your event. It's also worth bearing in mind that the cost of the venue will almost certainly account for the lion's share of your event budget.

Draw up a specification for your venue covering location, style, size, ground, event room, break-out rooms, flexibility, car parking, accessibility, date availability, etc.

 

THE SHOW

This is where we start to build the event detail:

Timings
Outside help required
Presenter briefings and proficiency
Static displays
Hand-outs
Structure and running order
Equipment
Room and stage layout
Who does what
How the group might split down into different sessions
How and where the audience will be greeted
Event follow-ups
Event assessments

 

EVENT MANAGER

Sod's Law operates quite happily in the field of event management - things that are left to chance will go wrong and can have disastrous effects on the event itself.

Allocate a single person to take ownership of the project. Brief them clearly and set them their own SMART objectives with regards to delivering the project and allocate an event budget. Simple project management disciplines apply.

The event manager should establish an event team and start by brain storming the required actions. He or she can then work the key actions back from the event date, establishing lead times and milestones along the way. Responsibility for key activities, timings and budgets should be allocated to individuals.

Good planning is essential to the successful delivery of the event

 

LEAD UP

Time for a dress rehearsal. It will not be practical for you to utilise the venue for this, or perhaps even to use the same equipment. But you will be able to check the running order, presenter material, visual aids, and utilising a venue plan to check the feasibility of movements.

It is during this process that minor glitches, and small omissions previously unconsidered will be revealed. The event manager should co-ordinate and run this meeting and bring with him/her a checklist of outstanding issues. It is also a wise precaution to issue everyone with a loading list with initials alongside each item so that nothing is forgotten when the time comes to leave for the venue.

SET UP

This is the time for set-up. When booking the venue you should stipulate that you require access to the room/s the night before to set-up equipment, seating, static displays etc. The opportunity should also be taken to walk the audience arrangements and check thoroughly your requirements and timings with the venue conference manager. The night before is also a good time for presenter and master of ceremonies to rehearse.

Double check sight lines by sitting in various seats and ensure that all electrical leads are safely taped down.

Please don't sit all the presenters on the stage - it does their nerves no good at all and distracts the audience. Likewise keep static displays containing anything but the most simple of messages out of eye-line.

Try and get a good night's sleep. Start later in the morning if the audience has to travel to get to the venue. Last thing, draw-up another checklist of things you need to do before the event starts, and relax.

 

ON THE DAY

Get walking around with a note pad and pen and then talk to the venue conference manager to get any problems sorted. Check the reception area - is it easy for the audience to find you? Have your own people at reception to greet people as they arrive. Ensure that all your people are wearing name badges with the company identity on them. Have clip-on or low-tack adhesive badges (no pins) for your audience.

Advise the MC of any changes to timings or administration.

Have one or two people in the main room to guide people to their seats and/or to ensure that seats are filled - if you don't, the law of sod will ensure that everyone sits on one side of the room, or they all sit at the back.

During intervals and at the reception ensure that your people are mixing with guests and not standing in small groups of their own. Surprisingly, sales people are particularly prone to this so don't assume that interaction is occurring.

Have all handouts ready for people as they leave - avoid giving them things before the presentation, they will simply distract, and for those that read ahead the impact of the presentation may be lost.

 

POST EVENT

It is important that you assess the effectiveness of the conference in achieving the objectives you set way back in Step One. It allows you the opportunity to gain greater impact with a follow-up, and importantly it allows you to improve what you do next time.

Try an exit poll works well to gain people's immediate views. These tend to gain more positive views but will highlight obvious successes and failures. Another option is a postal questionnaire requested two weeks after the event. This will assess actual changes in behaviour and a more calculated review of benefit.

Ensure that all contacts and other actions and suggestions are followed up. One month after the event the event manager should be requested to make a full report on the success on the event.

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