On a personal, community or professional capacity, each one of us must have had an experience of organising an event. Be it a simple birthday party or office meeting, to a large-scale milestone celebration or formal conferences or ceremonies, you’ve certainly had a hand in putting something together.
If not, you’ve certainly been in one and thought, why one event is more successful, better run, or give you a more enjoyable or memorable experience than another? What is the difference?
In our community, we have been to concerts which have kept us on our feet all night and engaged with other fans, and to conferences which made us doze off from start to finish. If the event is high profile, with high-ranking or popular speakers or performers, we as the audience could feel awkward while in a huge event hall where you could hear the drop of a pin. Yeah, that bad. You don’t know which to pity first, the VIP or the event organiser.
Professional event or project managers share a few tips on how to hold successful events.
Sometimes, it doesn’t take to be a “professional” to meet your event goals, but simply knowing what you want to achieve is a good starting point. First off, know your objectives. Why are you doing an event? Maybe another project could achieve the same result. That has to be clear to you. Irina Prokofieva, EU EaP Culture and Creativity Programme Operations Manager shares that you have to define the purpose and the format of the event which will depend on factors such as concept, timing, and duration.
After determining the answers, have a plan. Logistics, team members, sponsors, and timeframe. Do you have the resources, the right people and appropriate support, and can things be done within a specified time? This consideration includes budget, sponsors, expertise, and schedules.
A helpful tip shared by Irina is to think about all the possible scenarios in an event. As she said, the devil is in the detail. Walk through the process of how to give your audience the best possible experience. Even administrative or guidance information like where to find the toilets in a venue or is there access for PWD would be helpful in giving your audience or customer a delightful experience. Be helpful and be useful. Don’t give them dead air or a blank look.
Check the venue and have a plan B, another important point shared by Irina. Do you think your speaker or performer could fill a hall with 500 seating? If not, get a smaller venue. Would your event be better if held in an open-air venue? What if it rains? Is the parking accessible or even available? As an organiser, you should be able to address every glitch that could come up on the day of the event or just happen spontaneously.
Promote, promote, promote
Know your audience and how could you best reach them. Are they social media followers? Or could you reach them better through an endorsement by a credible figure, or through a notable network (e.g., social organisations). Do not think that a simple social media post will bring in warm bodies. If you are barking up the wrong tree or using the wrong media, chances are you can’t reach enough of the right people for your planned event.
Make sponsors happy
Before we even forget, organisers should please, aside from the audience, the company or government sponsors. Remember, the benefit should be mutual, after all, they helped bring fruition to your event. Happy sponsors bring repeat business and that lowers the cost of soliciting new ones for future events.
There are other steps in Irina’s guide but what we believe is very essential is soliciting feedback. What did we do right? Can this be replicated in future events? What did we do wrong? Maybe we should avoid that plan like a plague.
We have been to many events in our lifetime and chances are, there are those we look forward to and those that we don’t even give a second look to. As an audience, we look to having meaningful engagement and memorable experience at the very least. As organisers, we should be able to provide that.
Remember, the audience or the customer determines the population coming into your event. Numbers whether in headcount or profit are an important gauge for the success of an event.
We hope that these pointers are helpful for you and the next time we come around to cover your event, the right people are in it and putting in a good word about the event and your organisation.
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