From a PR professional’s perspective, organization is key to successful event planning, as events typically involve coordinating the efforts of the client, vendors and often a volunteer committee. The buck stops with the PR team when it comes to addressing every detail of a successful event. Here are ten tips for creating a seamless special event:
1. As soon as you have the event date, create a work plan, including a detailed budget and timeline with target dates for each task that needs to be completed.
2. Include regularly scheduled meetings with your client in the timeline and plan to prepare weekly updates outlining your progress and outstanding items.
3. Allow enough wiggle room in your timeline to accommodate information that may come in late. Allow extra time for design and completion of all printed pieces, such as invitations, programs and signage.
4. Follow up consistently with everyone who owes you materials and approvals for such items as ads for a program book, logos for printed materials, vendor proposals, speeches and presentations. Take ownership of the event and don’t leave follow-up to others.
5. Stick with vendors you know and have worked with or those who come highly recommended by people you trust to bring projects in on schedule and on budget. If you are getting estimates for something new, ask for them well in advance.
6. Be sure to follow up with everyone a week prior and again the day before the event to assure vendors and participants are fully and accurately prepared.
7. Create a separate, detailed timeline for your media strategy. Prepare announcements and press materials as early as possible so they are approved and ready to go on time.
8. Prepare a well-stocked event kit containing every item you might possibly need, such as tape, stapler, extra nametags, scissors, pens and pencils, first-aid kit, camera and batteries.
9. Prepare a carefully scripted day-of-event flow document, including minute-by-minute timing for all participants to follow.
10. For the day of the event, create an event checklist of everything you need to bring with you.
Variables that are out of your control, such as inclement weather and breaking news, make event planning inherently stressful. Your job is to monitor every detail, stay organized and make sure the event is the best it can possibly be.
By Chris Feeley
Senior Account Supervisor