When I was in school my favourite classes were Strategic Communications, Social Media, and Media Relations. Obviously, that is what I thought I would land in when I started my epic career in Public Relations. I have now completed two placements (one non-profit and one corporate) and almost five months in my first job and although I had brief opportunities to cover the topics mentioned above, the majority of my time has been spent planning events. Since I survived the biggest event of my career and am heading into a lesser version of that next month – I wanted to share with you some of the top tips I’ve learned so far.
- Break things down
When you are planning an event with multiple components, you can quickly get overwhelmed by everything you have on the go. I find the easiest thing to do is think about everything in sections. Write out the major components of your event. Listing each big task makes it easier to figure out what small steps need to be completed first. The resulting list or critical path makes delegating tasks easier because you already have an understanding of what needs to be done and when.
- Have a schedule
The most successful event planners are organized people – they know what they need to do and they get it done. A key component to this is knowing when everything is going to happen. Timelines are a helpful way to ensure you complete all necessary tasks. I recommend writing tasks ahead of time in an agenda. This will provide you with a reminder and saves you from getting distracted by trying to do too many things at once.
- Prepare information for others
I noticed the importance of this tip when I was a volunteer at an event earlier this year. As an event planner it is important to note volunteers are a core group of people who have dedicated their time to helping you! When managing volunteers, you must remember that you are the keeper of information and not everyone is in your head. There will be information that you don’t need to share with volunteers, but it is important to share as much information as you can when it comes to tasks. Take the time to make sure volunteers know what is going on, how they can help you and what their job will be. The more everyone involved is aware of what is happening, the more successful it will be. You never want someone sitting around bored and confused!
- Be nice to everyone
Event planners need friends. There are so many different people and teams that you will depend on to ensure an event is successful. This includes the people on your team, facilities, catering, volunteers and so much more. Make sure to keep everyone on your side, acknowledge how much their efforts mean to you, and always say thank you!
- Stay calm
The number one compliment I received after working on my big event this year was that I was very calm throughout it all. This seemed very odd to me. As the planner of the event and the keeper of the information, you do not get the luxury of freaking out in a crisis. No matter how hard you plan, something will go wrong. It is important to stay calm. Keep everything in perspective and use that creative brain to solve any problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Hope these tips help you in any events you are planning in the future!