Whether you’re an individual or a professional event planner, the most basic skills that you need to have are communication, organizational and documentation skills. Even when you don’t have a lot of experience, you can set up a successful event with a clear organizational plan and a lot of creativity. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Staying organized when so many things are going on can be the biggest challenge you will face. Here are some strategies that expert event planners have tried to make sure they’re always on the right track.
Master organizational skills means less stress. If you have things properly in place, you can then focus on getting creative and improving your visuals and marketing strategy. If you have a solid view of the bigger picture, you get a firmer grasp of the details and things will, hopefully, naturally fall into place.
1. Write things down.
Creating event binders is one of the most popular strategies that professionals make to ensure their events go smoothly. This applies to any occasion, whether it’s a major conference or a small internal training session or meeting.
While so many people now rely on digital devices and smartphones to stay on track, physical binders continue to prove useful for the key details. Also, you cannot always rely on electronics because they run out of battery or conk out at the most crucial of times. Keeping hard copies of schedules and other important documents can keep your event afloat when the gadgets go bonkers.
2. Plan for every detail.
Each event and program should be given a space on your planner, just so you don’t miss out on anything. Depending on the magnitude of your event, this can mean several or all of these: agenda and itinerary, attendees, contact persons, phone numbers, emails and other modes of communication, contracts and arrivals and departures. This can also include contracts, banquet orders, entertainment providers, gifts and giveaways, schedule of activities, the budget and many more miscellaneous items.
3. Keep the team updated.
Always have a direct line of communication with your staff and schedule a regular meeting at the end of each day, or at your preferred time, so you can update each other about new details. This is also a great opportunity for people to throw ideas in, mention and plan for “what if” situations and devise better ways to handle things. Record everything that’s been discussed at these meetings for the benefit of those who weren’t able to come or for the team to refer back to in case they forget.
4. Go online.
Since everybody is glued to their smartphones these days, so should you also utilize a planning software or document storage site that everybody can access at any time. Update this online document as you get new information and your team can do the same, as well. This way, you don’t have to keep calling each other or texting for the small details. You can just refresh the updates page online to get the latest news. Great sites that help boost planning efficiency include Dropbox, Trello and Google Drive.
5. Stick to your system.
Once you have a system in place, stick to it until the very end. Don’t keep changing modes of communication or organizational rules as you move closer to your event’s date. You cannot afford people getting lost in translation. Of course, every event may require a new system — and that’s fine. What’s important is that everyone who needs to access the information is on the same page all throughout. Whatever strategy you or your team decides to use, maximize it so you can easily get the key information to ensure that your next event happens seamlessly.