You want your event to be an experience that is interactive and exciting, motivating, and memorable; and of course, looking amazing for the gram!
In this blog post, we will help identify everything that needs to go into planning an event (our 5 D’s), so you can ensure all the pieces come together seamlessly and your vision comes to life.
Working in Event Production is one of the most thrilling careers. An Event Manager oversees the finer details of the event, ensuring the production team delivers what’s been promised in the event requirements.
By following our 5 D's you can be sure that every event you produce will not only deliver on event objectives but also create an incredible attendee experience.
The first step in planning a successful event is to define your event concept.
What are the goals and objectives of your event?
What do you want to achieve?
Educate or cultivate?
Raise awareness or funds?
Say thank you for a job well done?
What do you want people to say and have experienced as the event concludes?
By setting the intention, everyone involved knows the overall objective.
Once you know the overall objective now, you’re down to purpose, what is the purpose of your event? One way to do this is to think of some events that you have personally attended and created everlasting memories in your mind? Use these events as your inspiration to create the dream at your event.
The next step is to design your events and start planning the details. Here, you will need to create a comprehensive check list of what needs to be done for the event.
How do you want your event - To look - when the doors open? To Feel - as guests enter? To Sound- as guests make their way to their seats?
Taking both the creative and technical to combine them to cover the overall atmosphere for the event, including theming, styling, and branding is the winning balance for event success.
Identifying the target guest by keeping in mind demographics that can be but are not limited too: age, gender, education level, occupation, value set and cultural background.
Creating sponsorship levels for your event – It is never too early to begin thinking about sponsors! There are two types of sponsorships. The first type is exclusive and allows one company to sponsor the whole event, including logo in all materials and an opportunity for speaking time. The second type of sponsorship is non-exclusive and allows multiple sponsors for each tiered category. This option is common when an event has many categories that need support, like music festivals or trade shows. With the non-exclusive model you may have a beverage sponsor for the welcome event and a different sponsor for the awards night.
Creating your budget: How much money do you need to put toward the event and where is that money going? Costs to take into consideration are venue costs, food and beverage, staffing salaries, entertainment budgets, equipment, travel expenses and any miscellaneous costs that you may have to plan for, always include a contingency cost as a buffer for those last-minute unexpected expenses. Every aspect of running an event is expensive; it’s important to know what you are getting into from the get-go!
Creating a timeline for your event: What happens first? Next and how much time do I need to allocate for each activity? Be sure to account for freight times and any delays that may occur depending on where the events products are coming from, hard cut off times for printing of collateral or final numbers for the venue or anything else that might slow down the delivery of your event. This may include getting permission for anything you are doing, making sure all contracts are signed and agreements with the venue have been drawn up and approved.
Planning pre-event activities: The amount of work and time taken before your event is reflective of its success or failure! You can create excitement in advance by advertising online, creating a social media plan with sneak peaks, competitions and behind the scenes posts, sending out press releases and selling early bird/advance tickets. Make sure you are always planning, planning planning and checking your timeline of events for what’s coming up next in the list of to do’s.
Creating a call to action for after your event: Have we done enough? What’s next? How can we grow from here? It’s the end of the event, but is it really over?
When everyone knows what’s happening, everyone knows what to do.
Clear and detailed run-sheets can be the difference between smooth sailing and a complete disaster. And every event needs a series of contingencies.
This is one of the most overlooked and often neglected stages of event management. This is best managed if you do a run-through of the event from top to bottom or start to finish.
You want to make sure everything is on track. Does the venue have enough space for guests to be seated, what format will they be seated - theatre style, banquet rounds or open-end tables, does the space have enough room for catering and if it’s a gala dinner or awards night - is there a dance floor for the after party celebrations?
So, you’ve planned everything however always expect the unexpected - if a speaker were to cancel, do you have an alternate speaker to take their place? If 4 extra guests turn up to the event is there enough meals and seats to accommodate the last-minute change?
Have you considered what to do if the budget is running low? What must stay and what is a nice to have? Make sure to always consider what the worst-case scenario will be so that you can always be on top of your event.
Bump in. Decor. Lights. Audio. Action!
This is the ‘D-Day’ so to speak. This is when the event takes place, all your painstaking pre-planning has paid off and you’re ready for gig day. On this day, you and your team need to be on top of everything.
You want to develop a running order or production schedule for everyone involved with the event, from when bump in begins with audio visual and theming to speaker or entertainment rehearsal in the afternoon.
Once all the rehearsing is complete, you’re now ready for the big show. There are so many details to remember and so much to do; so always be ready and armed with your schedule before guests arrive and time is not on your side.
Every great event has a team of people behind it, both in the planning stages and on-site during the event. Having a group of people with the expertise to handle any situation is vital, and their experience can be invaluable for you (and your team as well).
As the event is progressing, you have to make sure the itinerary is continuously being followed. While one speaker is speaking, the second one is at side of stage or in the front row in a reserved seat ready to go with their audio-visual requirements cued and ready to go.
As morning tea, lunch, or afternoon tea approaches, you want to make sure that the caterers are preparing the food and beverage at the allocated time so that the guests don’t break and there is no food waiting for them - there is nothing worse than hangry guests.
Proper planning for an event can seem overwhelming, but don’t let it get the best of you; every great show starts with a good plan! Remember that when it's all said and done, if the budget is balanced and the event is successful, you will have a great story to tell.
After producing an exceptional event, you should evaluate everything: employees, equipment, and workflow to implement any learnings into the next event. The most important aspect is to look at your objectives vs. your actual results.
- Were they met?
- What worked well?
- What could have gone better?
- What can't you wait to do again?
The debrief process is so important when it comes to creating fantastic events. You always want to look back and see what you could have done better.
Learn! Yes, you want to learn from your mistakes and successes when putting on an event. You want to look back at what went wrong (if anything) and then adjust for the next time around.
Ask yourself these questions: Were they met? Why or why not? How can you improve for the next time around? You have to find solutions for all areas that may need improvement, so make sure to get feedback from your team about what went right with the event. This will help build relationships with your team, as well as build a stronger understanding of how you can make events even better.
This is also where you thank everyone who was involved in putting on a great event. This could include the venue, caterers, and speakers down to the volunteers. A simple task that, when done right, can go a long way and make someone feel like they’ve really made an impact on the success of the event.
Events Worth Sharing
Some parties are worth having, and then some events are so good they should be remembered for some time to come. The best way to ensure that your event stands out is to make sure your time management and execution is always on point. Remember these 5 D’s as a reminder of how important pre planning and preparation are key to an events success; it will help you avoid challenges or pitfalls and ensure you will always plan an incredible event experience.