Imagine you just received a great assignment to organize a new event. Whether it was your idea someone else’s, you may not have given a lot of thought to all the steps between today and the event. Once the initial thrill settles, you may even be a little nervous about all the things you need to accomplish prior to the big day to make your event amazing. Relax and be confident. Then sit down to work through the following 4 key things to help you achieve your event goals and stay organized between now and then.
Whether it is a recognition dinner or a multi-day conference, these 4 key project management tips will help you stay on target to a successful conclusion.
1) Establish Or Verify Clear Goals & Measurable Objectives For Your Event
To have a successful event, you need to know what your measures for success will be after the event has occurred. Are you looking to grow your customer base? Are you planning to use this event to launch a new product or service? Are you simply looking to thank your employees for a job well done or your clients for their support?
Set clear event goals and create measurable objectives to help evaluate the success of your event after all the guests have left. You will also want to make sure that the event is seen by the guests and the organization hosts as being an overall success.
One goal that should be a part of your planning is to make sure that you positively leverage your organization’s brand throughout the event process.
2) Determine Your Event Budget
Setting a budget should be one of the firsts steps when planning an event, as it is the key to most, if not all, other decisions. Location, timing, food and guest list will all depend on the budget.
In most cases, budget is not an open-ended question. Your boss has most likely already asked you for a preliminary estimate or may have a set maximum budget.
As you work on the budget, make sure to clearly define any event costs that are not included within it. Once you have approval on the cost, make sure to get approval on any additional expenses or incremental dollars as they come up.
Avoid surprises at all costs. Nothing spoils a successful event more than going over budget or having to explain after the money has been spent.
Be aware of additions or changes in event scope along the way. Scope creep, continuous or uncontrolled growth changes in a project’s scope after the project begins, can quickly add up costs and delay timelines.
3) Set Detailed Timelines
Timelines are another important part of planning any event. Make sure to allocate time properly for each part of the event. Work backwards from the event date when developing a timeline.
Make sure to also include time for approvals from your boss or internal departments including legal, compliance, human resources or third party participants, such as speakers, as appropriate.
If there is a strong timeline already incorporated into the proposal, you will still want to verify that everything is in order by confirming dates and commitments with other members of the team or vendors who will be involved in the project once receiving the final approval to move ahead. Strong event planners will also frequently make sure the timeline is still on track at various checkpoints along the way.
4) Get The Team Involved
Hosting an event is a team activity, so enlist the help of your team as early in the process as possible. The best way to get people engaged in hosting an event is to keep them involved. However, be sure they each know their specific roles so that responsibilities will get completed within the budget and on time. Too many decision makers along the way can be counterproductive.
It may be appropriate to host a team brainstorm session before your project gets too far underway. However, make sure you clearly define what results you are looking for from the brainstorm prior to the session to make sure the group is providing ideas for the answers you are looking for.
For example, there may already be an event theme. First clarify that with the group and then tell them that you need their help with developing some ideas for the ancillary speakers, breakout activities or with the evening entertainment.
Hosting an event can be very rewarding. If you follow these helpful these helpful event project management tips, you should be well on your way. However, if you are still not excited about doing all the project management, consider enlisting in the help of professionals who can manage the project for you.
At Karwoski & Courage we frequently help clients brainstorm, develop and host a variety of events from product launches, to educational conferences and media events. If you have a question about an event, give us a call. We will be happy to discuss how we might be able to help you.
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