5 things you should keep in mind when you’re organising an event for the first time
There are hundreds of events happening all over the world every single day. Assuming you’re from the startup fraternity too, no one is more aware of the explosion of events around town.
But take a minute to think about this –
When was the last time you attended an event so well organised that it blew your socks off?
If you’re thinking of organising an event for the first time, there is a lot of information available on the www and it can get overwhelming. So, I’ve put together a list that will help you finding a starting point. Organising an event is a lot like cooking. When you’re a novice cook, the best way to find your way around the kitchen is to find a kickass recipe and stick to it.
I have been a part of various events of different scales. And whatever the type of event – technical, entertainment, social, cultural, or educational, all you need to do is stick to the recipe.
Here are my 5 pointers to make your first event a success!
1. Pick a great team
This is the most important ingredient for an awesome event. This is not just a requirement to pull off a great event. It is the basis of running a successful business, too. Here’s what Mikael Cho, the co-founder of Crew says:
“When you’re starting out, you can feel anxious and want to hire anyone willing to lend a hand. It’s a hard lesson to learn but building a team of the right people is one of the hardest and most important things we’ve done (and are still doing).
Working with teammates that you can trust removes a lot of unnecessary noise from your brain. Like any good relationship, when you have someone you can lean on and trust fully, you can focus on your customers and building your business rather than over-managing people.
Find people you vibe with first on a personal level. Then, look at what they can do and what they want to do. Work on a small project to start, with no long-term guarantees. Get a feel for how you both work together.
Ask yourself, could you spend the next decade or the rest of your career working together? If the answer isn’t an immediate ‘yes’ for both of you, then it’s probably not the right fit.”
This sums up everything you need to keep in mind while picking your team.
2. Bring in kickass vendors & suppliers you can trust
Vendors are usually evaluated on the prices they quote. This is understandable since the price is usually the make or break factor, especially if you’re organising an event on a budget.
But, for a novice event manager, it is best to work with vendors and suppliers who are experienced.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. I was working with a vendor on an event. I gave him the size requirements and drawings of my setup for the venue. He immediately pointed out that my setup would not work. Since he had already worked at that venue, he brought to my notice some issues with logistics that I wasn’t aware of.
As a vendor, his job is to deliver according to my requirements. But his experience is what saved the day.
Work with a vendor who is as invested in the success of the event as you are.
Remember, while organising an event, often, unexpected issues crop up. Can you rely on your vendors to bail you out during a difficult situation?
This kind of relationship with vendors is built over time. But, the initial conversations should give you an indication of your working chemistry. You can always ask for references from other clients they’ve worked with. And this is a fantastic place to start.
3. Concentrate on both the event experience & content
Sometimes, event organizers spend a majority of their time getting the content of the event ready. And they finally have very little or no time left to plan the event experience.
The experience of an event starts right from the time your audience hear about the event, till the time they leave the venue at the end of the event.
Make an impression even before you present your content:
1. Is your event communication top-notch?
2. Are you setting expectations right?
3. Is the registration experience effortless?
4. How does your stage look?
5. Is the venue lit well?
6. Are the colours you’re using soothing to the eye?
7. How good is the quality of the lanyards you’re using?
8. You get the idea. All of this matters.
Make sure you leave yourself enough time to think about the event experience. The question I asked you right at the beginning of this post, let me add to that –
Do you remember the names of all the speakers at the last event you attended that made you go, wow?
You probably don’t.
Do you remember what about the event made you go, wow?
You most definitely do!
And this is what creating a great event experience can do.
4. Add a personal touch
The last thing that your audience would want is to come to your event as if it were a movie theater where they come, watch and leave. Most people turn up events because they want to interact with people. Well conceived events are the best places to network.
Add a personal touch — by being approachable, personalizing handouts/giveaways (if possible) or by any other means suitable for your event. People love a personalized experience in an event and are going to remember it for long!
This is where technology can be your best friend. There are tools like this one that help you customize the event experience, encourage real-time participation, and make your audience feel appreciated.
5. Focus on your audience
I have saved the best for the last.
As an event organiser, your audience is your everything. Right from the communication of the event to your line up to the in-event experience, the starting point is an in-depth understanding of your audience.
Lisa Toner, Hubspot’s Head of Relationship Marketing, EMEA, talks about creating personas to understand your audience.
It is important to strike the right balance of providing value to your audience and checking the right boxes for your stakeholders.
There is a lot more that goes into making an event awesome. But these are the most essential ones. And they apply to any type of event, of any scale, anywhere in the world.
Remember, the above tips are not about how to ‘manage’ an event as an event manager. It is about how to awesomely ‘organize’ an event as an event organizer. There is a great deal of difference there!
Comic strip source.