What’s the first step of event planning? Making a plan!
Yep, you read that correctly. Without a well-thought-out plan for event planning, you risk disorganization, chaos, and not meeting goals of the event. Following a formula for your event planning business or one-time event will guarantee success.
So, instead of wandering into your next event planning job with no guidelines, follow this simple guide to the five stages of event planning.
Stage 1 – Research and Goal Setting
Depending on the type of event you are planning, you may need to conduct some research before you get started. Some event planning companies will skip this crucial step and it can mean disaster for the success of the event.
During the research process you should interview the person or team that is responsible for hosting the event. Find out exactly what their goals are – raising money, training, networking with other professionals, sharing new ideas, etc.
Have a list of questions prepared for the research phase in order to maximize efficiency. You’ll need to know the budget for the event, the date, and about how many people are expected to attend.
After you have completed your research you can document the goals and objectives of the event. Your goals and objectives should be clear and focused so that you can use them to measure the success of your event later on. This list can also guide you as you start the main event planning phases.
Stage 2 – Design the Event
The event design phase includes the master plan for your event. You’ll start with finding a venue that accommodates the theme of the event, the number of guests, and the purpose of the event. You can work with venue staff throughout the planning process to enhance communication and make sure things run smoothly.
Once you have a location for your event, you can start build a team of people to help you with the remaining design tasks.
Delegating responsibility to different team members allows you to take a management role without becoming too overwhelmed by the details of event planning. Each of your team members will contribute to the master plan.
For example, the person responsible for entertainment will give you a list of performers along with a schedule. The person or group responsible for food and drink will provide a detailed menu along with the associated costs and plan for food service.
Your event design and master plan need to be as detailed as possible to ensure the success of your event.
Stage 3 – Brand the Event
A successful event with clear goals and objectives should be easy to brand. You know what the host of the event wants and what guests are expecting. Use your research and your design to brand the event.
But wait! You’ll also need to find a way to show how your event is unique and why it’s worth attending. You can use promotional materials to bolster the brand and get people talking about your event.
Does your event have a name? Does it have a motto or tagline? These details can make branding your event more successful. Think about a name, tagline, and logo as you form a brand around the event. It should be clear to attendees what they should expect from the event should they choose to attend.
Your branding will help you as you start to publicize the event. You can use an email list, social media posts, or a specific invitation list depending on what the event host has in mind.
Stage 4 – Coordination and Day-Of Planning
Your planning is coming together well and you are ready for stage 4 – coordination and day of planning! Coordination refers to finalizing plans with each of your team members and the event staff or volunteers.
Everyone involved with the event should know what is expected of them and how important their role is to event success. You’ll need to coordinate the different components of the days event and give the schedule to each team member and your representative at the venue.
The schedule should list each component of the event with a clear start and finish time. You may also include which person or group of people is responsible for each part of the event. You can also include other important information on your day-of schedule such as who to contact if there are technical issues.
This stage is hard work! But it’s why event planners are successful – they have impressive attention to detail.
Stage 5 – Evaluate the Event
You’ve made it to the last step of your event planning checklists – the evaluation.
Not all event planners or event planning companies use a formal evaluation. The evaluation stage is useful if you are relatively new to planning or you want to collect positive feedback to build your reputation as a planner.
For conferences and formal work trainings you can send out an online survey or hand out a paper survey to attendees to collect feedback on the event. Include questions about the organization of the event and specific objectives from your list.
But input from attendees is only part of the evaluation. After the event is over you can return to your team’s goals and objectives and discuss whether each of those were met. If they were – great! If you think you could have been stronger in a certain area, discuss it. The only way to improve your event planning skills is to be willing to grow and improve.
Successful Event Planning
Now you have the perfect stage-by-stage formula for to plan an event. These guidelines can help keep you organized and on-track to make the most out of your event.
Remember that event planning also takes a certain level of flexibility. Things don’t always go perfectly, and that’s okay! As an event planner you will learn how to think on your feet and adapt to changing situations.
If you’re planning an event in the Midlothian area and looking for a venue, contact us at 972-775-7125 or schedule a tour of the space.