Event Planning Checklist
Planning an event can seem daunting. Whether it’s an internal company update, industry conference or client entertaining, the pressure can be on to ensure the event goes smoothly. An event planning checklist can be very useful.
As experienced event organisers and managers we know what it takes to make the event planning process straightforward and how to ensure everything goes to plan. By using an easy to follow event planning checklist you can make sure each aspect of your next event is covered and limit the potential for slip ups.
So, what do you need to check off your list?
A very important place to start: what is the purpose of your event? This will lead you to an understanding of what is expected, who should be invited and even where the event could be held. By starting here and gaining a clear understanding, the next planning stages will follow much more easily.
Agree what the value of the event is to your business and how much expense you can allocate to it. This budget should include everything from venue hire to invitations, staffing, food & drink, speakers and post-event research. This isn’t an action that will be ticked off the event planning list quickly and should be regularly monitored throughout the event planning and execution stages.
Choose a date that suits you, your audience and the purpose of the event. Celebrating the launch of a new product? Hold the event on the day of the launch. Announcing a company merger to your employees? The event should occur in advance of any public announcement and with plenty of time before the actual merger occurs. Think about conflicting events or unsuitable dates and choose one that gives you plenty of time to get the planning done.
Who are you inviting? Who is the event aimed at? Once you’ve ticked this off your event planning checklist you can start to arrange the invitations, registration or promotional materials needed to reach your target attendees.
At this stage, decide how you will contact your attendees and how you will communicate details and highlights about the event with them. Consider using an attendee management tool, such as DelegateManager, to simplify this process.
Now you know the purpose of your event and who will be attending, you can choose a suitable venue. When choosing a venue consider:
- Location - proximity to your attendees and ease of travel
- Size - will it accommodate the number of attendees you expect, or will it seem too empty (or worse, too cramped)?
- Technology requirements, including Wi-Fi, sound, projection and power
- Cost – ensure you stick to your budget
You’ve got a clear purpose for your event and you’ve chosen the venue. Have you planned out what the day (or night) will actually entail?
Consider which speakers, if any, you will host. If you’re looking for external speakers, research those with experience in the relevant industry or make contact with your networks. If it’s an internal event, ensure the MD or CEO is available to speak and give them a full brief.
You need to ensure your audience is engaged throughout, so think about the timings of each session or activity – don’t make them too long and make sure there are plenty of breaks in between for refreshments and discussion. If audience participation is what you’re after, utilise breakout sessions and interactive technologies.
You’ll need to have a clear vision for what the look and feel of your event is going to be. Great event branding will go a long way in communicating this. An event should have a clear design throughout – from invitations, to the arrival desk, to presentation areas and even the ‘take away’ at the end of a session. When arranging design work consider:
- Invitations & email signatures
- Event branding
- Stage design
- Corporate gifts
- Speaker slideshows
- Video content
STAFF & CREW
Consider the staffing required for your event. Are you serving food and drink? Then you’ll need catering staff to handle this. Do you have a complex audio visual set up? Get the professionals in to handle these aspects. Keep it within budget but don’t scrimp on any of the necessary help on the day of your event. A poorly run event could be detrimental.
The smooth-running of an event can be the key to its success. That’s why you need clear logistics planning. Make time for a pre-event rehearsal. This way you can run through any presentations to check timings, test video playback, run through sound checks and trial your delegate arrival process.
Another thing to consider as part of your logistics is the environmental credentials of your event. What plans do you have for waste collection or recycling points? Today this can be a key factor that event attendees look for in a well-run event.
Technology can enhance your event and help it to run smoother. If you’re using slides and video content, you will need to consider the availability of screens and AV requirements. Alternatively, if you want a live social media feed, you’ll need to investigate the Wi-Fi connection and consider digital signage technology, such as Smoke Signal.
Take a look at some of the other top event tech we recommend.
FOLLOW UP AND REPORT
As part of your planning checklist you should factor in some time for post-event reporting and surveying. Not only will this help you to determine the success of the event, it will also assist when it comes to running another one. Learn from what went right (and wrong!) at every event you run to ensure your events are the best that they can be. Ask delegates or attendees for feedback and act on the results.
Our recommended event planning checklist features key aspects you should consider when it comes to planning your next event, but it is not exhaustive. It’s important to carefully plan in order to run a successful event. Other things you should consider include event video production and creativity in corporate events.