We have spent a great deal of time on this blog talking about critical tasks such as budgeting, planning and marketing your event. Hopefully you have found those posts to be helpful! But, what do you do during your event?
Chances are you will spend weeks, if not months, planning your event. Once the big day arrives and your event begins, you can kick back and take it easy…right? WRONG! Your job as the event planner is to make sure everything runs smoothly as planned…or as close to the plan as possible. This is easier said than done, but here are 4 things you can do during your event to help make sure this happens:
- Always carry a copy of the schedule - You and your team put a lot of work into the schedule. What speakers are presenting, what breakouts/activities you’re offering and when, which meals are at what times, etc. Every person at the event should have one of these schedules and, while it may not run exactly on time, it’s your job to ensure the whole show runs smoothly and as close to on time as possible.
- Always have a backup plan - Everyone assumes that some speakers or activities will run longer than expected, but please don’t forget that some may fall short. I once saw a speaker get off stage with an hour left in his time slot. What did the event planner do? He had an impromptu Q&A panel that went on without a hitch. Having backups is important at events because, no matter how rigorously you plan, thing can still go awry.
- Continually and clearly express your main message - What is the main theme or message you want to get across during your meeting? Think about why you’re having the conference and what it is about, and use those clues to write up a statement about your main message. If it’s a simple one like, “I want everyone to learn team building strategies,” that should be easy to convey. But if you have a more specific message, pay attention to ensure that it’s clear and precise, and expressed just enough that it sticks in your attendees’ brains.
- Constantly evaluate - To determine if your event was a success or not, you must first define what success means to you. It could mean that everyone had fun, everyone learned the main message, or simply that most people showed up and everyone stayed until the end. However, don’t just wait until after the event to evaluate how things went. Try to constantly evaluate during the event (attendees’ body language and actions, as well as talking with guests) to get a great overall view of your project in motion.
As a planner, what are some other things you focus on during your event?