Event Planning 101:
7 Tips To Make Planning Your Next Event a Breeze
Schedule Staff to Work Events

Planning an event can be tedious.

Whether you’ve been charged with scheduling a frisbee tournament, a write-a-thon, a wedding reception, an academic conference, or a fundraiser– you’re virtually guaranteed to face countless headaches. Outside of the common challenges that come with managing a group of people, there are so many unique types of events that it can be difficult to find a one-size-fits-all guide. Well, that guide is finally here.

Today, we’re going to run through our foolproof tactics to planning a successful event. To give a brief rundown, here are the 7 steps to effectively and painlessly plan your next event:

  1. Don’t panic, plan it
  2. Cross-train your staff
  3. Use a template for event scheduling
  4. Anticipate the needs of your guests
  5. Establish channels of communication
  6. Get the word out
  7. Enjoy it!

Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at why each of these 7 steps is vital for effective event planning.

Event Planning Tip #1: Don’t panic, plan it

If you’re looking for help planning your event it’s quite possible you’re in a panic. At the very least, you’re feeling some heat. You have a million things to do and very little time in which to do them. The tournament’s a week away and your school’s team is hounding you via email, voicemail, and any other kind of mail they can get their hands on to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

The key here is to avoid panicking. Seriously, just don’t do it.

Trying to juggle several tasks at once has a way of cutting your productivity in half.  Instead, you should work diligently on one task, take it as far as you can, set it aside, then pick up the next thing. Your time away from the first task, even if it’s just a day or two–say you’re waiting on calls back regarding the availability of a couple different venues–will help you gain perspective. When you finally get the calls back, you’ll have had the opportunity to think about the decision for a couple days; and even if you haven’t, the time away will allow you to approach the decision with renewed vigor and a clear head.

When you finally get the calls back, you’ll have had the opportunity to think about the decision for a couple days; and even if you haven’t, the time away will allow you to approach the decision with renewed vigor and a clear head.

Event Planning Tip #2: Cross-train your staff

Cross training your staff is the key to event planning success. Why? Because it means the people you’ve got manning each and every role are versatile enough to switch things up with only a moment’s notice.

Of course, you should be sure to put your employees in the positions where they’re most likely to succeed. As you create a schedule for your event staff, be sure to weigh the strengths of your employees in the context of the event’s roles; they’ll likely be a bit different from what your employees do on a daily basis, but there will be enough parallels to ensure success. And don’t be afraid to leverage your shift leaders. Let them shoulder more responsibility on the day of your event so that you can focus on putting out fires.

Event Planning Tip #3: Use a template for event scheduling

Scheduling templates are an incredibly handy. They’re a vital tool for event planning. And they can be used for just about anything.

For even better results, combine the organizational power of a template with event-planning software. This will allow you to:

  • Create and manage multiple events
  • Schedule employees on a recurring basis
  • Control your budget
  • Coordinate event and meeting space reservations.

Why stress over event planning when technology can shoulder the load?

Event Planning Tip #4: Anticipate the needs of your guests

Things can go haywire pretty quickly if you don’t plan your event around your audience. The best way to anticipate the needs of your guests without overlooking something critical is to ask yourself two questions:

  • Who is attending your event?
  • What accommodations might be required in order for them to do so? 

Might someone have trouble getting up a flight of stairs? Are there certain foods they can’t eat? Are there genres of music they might viscerally reject? Send out feelers when you’re talking about your event, and try to get a grasp on what types of accommodations will enhance the experiences of guests and participants alike. Do it early, too, to afford ample time for more complex solutions. The smallest of expectations can have massive implications when it comes to what your event will ultimately look like.

Event Planning Tip #5:  Establish channels of communication

Nothing can derail an event quite like a disjointed team.

If possible, streamline communication by getting your staff together before the event. Discuss overall strategy, expectations for behavior, and best practices for service. Your staff should be able to quickly access schedule changes. They need to have an understanding of what do if X happens, where X can be just about anything under the sun. Simple communication is what makes this possible.

Discuss overall goals for the event, specific areas of focus, and establish channels of communication for both members of your team and your guests. Nothing helps establish employee accountability like clear goals and constant communication.

Event Planning Tip #6:  Get the word out

Send out email blasts, put up flyers, and most importantly, establish a presence on social media. 82 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds online in the United States use Facebook. No matter what kind of event you’re scheduling, be sure to use the power of the internet to get the word out.

Create a Facebook event page, get connected, and watch attendance skyrocket!

Event Planning Tip #7: Enjoy it!

Like a veteran athlete, have confidence in the fact that you’ve put your work in, early and often, and that gameday will be mostly a matter of muscle memory. Be on top of event management, but if you take the time to celebrate all the hard work you’ve put in, your guests will follow suit!

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An event planned right, and planned well, is not planned under intense stress. Start your event planning early, stay organized, and have fun with it!

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