From the intimate and smallscale up to high-profile international conferences attracting hundreds of delegates from all over the globe, imagining and delivering a successful event is a stressful business.
It may seem as though you have an insurmountable mountain to climb, but there are ways of making that journey much easier.
Here’s my top tips:
- Known unknowns: to anyone thinking of running an event, begin early. Whatever time you think it will take to deliver your event, add 50% more by way of contingency. Know that logistical issues, human error, cancellations and the downright unexpected can conspire to derail your beautifully planned event. So price that into your timeframes, build in contingency time and begin early.
- Follow the money: one element which causes most worry is finances. Balancing the ‘wow factor’ and memorable experiences with affordability and value is the key. Be flexible with your plan but not your budget. If you lack confidence in your own ability or are simply time poor, bring in the skills you need to ensure tight controls and effective reporting processes are in place.
- Be like Buzzfeed: use lists, lots of lists. Software like Trello is good at breaking down big tasks into smaller actions and shaping them into a simple workflow. There are lots of apps (Yammer), cloud packages (Google Drive) and free tools (Slack) available to ensure all colleagues can view and collaborate on action points in real-time.
- Go Pro: if necessary, talk to a consultant. In addition to their experience and contacts, they can honestly assess what works for audience and what does not. It can be critical to have someone on the team who is independent enough to challenge group think and test assumptions.
- Have fun: no, really. Events management is rewarding on so many levels. We’ve been doing it for 25 years and we think it’s the best job there is.
Naturally, the more events you do, the more efficient and effective your processes become, the more finely honed your skills become and so the less stressful events management becomes over time.
Remember: build in time for contingency; ensure effective financial controls are in place; use and share your lists. These can make the road ahead look a lot less intimidating
By Anne Doherty
MD of Happening Conferences & Events.