Five things learned from event management

Over the last seven years, I have become immersed in the world of events and have since learned a lot. I suppose I should have kept a journal with me to document my experiences but, as anyone organising an event will understand, you barely have time to eat on the lead up to an event, let alone be able to document said hunger.

I have had the pleasure (and challenge) of coordinating a whole host of large-scale events.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Leverage the relationships you have built.

I can’t stress enough how important it was for me to be able to ask for help from a network of absolutely fantastic, local people who were more than willing to join me at the events themselves or volunteer their services/donate their products to raise money at a charity ball auction. The support was overwhelming and that, in my opinion, comes not just from having a solid brand backing the event but an ongoing commitment to building relationships with people.

2. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

You could run through your event countless times in an empty venue with not a hitch to be seen. But, the moment that you’ve got six hundred expectant eyes on you, you can guarantee that the microphone will break. Ask ‘what if?’ after every small part of your event. Have a contingency plan for if it rains, if too few people arrive, if too many people arrive, if the lighting isn’t right, if the microphone breaks. What if you don’t have a plan for if the microphone breaks? The Compere couldn’t speak, the guest speaker couldn’t present that very speech you’ve been working on for weeks and no one would be coming to your next event.

3. The power of social media engagement

You know those notifications you get on Facebook inviting you to some terrible nightclub that has 10,000 people invited? That is not what I’m getting at here. Any expert you speak to about social media will mention the word ‘engagement’ over and over again. Business owners often worry about the “amount of content” on their page but if the content on your page doesn’t engage your target audience, you may as well be posting a blank canvas.
If you can engage with your audience, enable them to interact and share your event by offering them something in return (perhaps advertising in your programme on the evening itself), you’re already half way there to ticket sales.

4. Action begets action

You can have the best plan and intentions in the world, but that doesn’t get anything done. What does? Taking action. When I get an email, I start a draft reply; I’ve made a start even if I don’t get chance to actually send the email for a couple of days. I have two last minute speeches to write before the end of the day? I calmly make a start. I edit whatever I’ve jotted down on paper later when inspiration revisits. You can have ideas to run the best event in the world but if you don’t act on them, they remain a bullet point on your ‘to do’ list. Go and meet as many venue owners as you can, start your graphic brief, send your invitations out, write your action plan or just contact me and I’ll do the rest.

5. Enjoy!

The best part. You’ve worked tirelessly over the last few months to make sure this works, you’ve met so many people who have helped you along the way and you’ve put your heart and soul in to this event. When the disco comes on at the end of the night – take a step back and realise just what you’ve accomplished. After all, no one ever needs to know that iPhone torches had to be utilised after the lighting for the caterers went out after the first course… (I’ll tell you about that story when we meet)

Sophie Attwood