Whether you have planned hundreds of events or you're just starting out, I think we can all agree on one thing – and it's that meeting & event planning is hard work. In my role as Corporate Account Executive for Turf Valley Resort, I have worked on thousands of meetings over the years. In that time, I've discovered the most successful planners (and oftentimes the happiest) have a few things in common:
- Strong organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to adapt
- An event planning checklist
Utilizing a checklist can increase the likelihood of achieving your event goals, ensuring a systematic approach to the planning process, while minimizing the likelihood anything is overlooked. A checklist can be shared amongst a team, and we all know that more hands make for lighter work. No one is looking at you to reinvent the wheel here by creating your own checklist. I did a Google search of "Corporate Meeting Planning Checklist" and found some really fantastic templates. Find one that works best for you! In the planning and execution of a corporate event, you can benefit greatly from technology – software, apps and services to streamline the entire process.
Now, as you begin to plan your next event, the approach will vary depending on the type of event. (Examples: Retreat, Team Building, Tradeshow, Conference, Networking, Product Launch). Whether you are hosting a product launch for 500 attendees or an intimate board retreat for a group of 10, it is imperative to approach it with an understanding of the elements of event management:
- Planning Coordination
Here are some universal "event planning" tips to guarantee you put together an event your attendees won't soon forget!
1. Understand the purpose of your event. Define what you hope to accomplish.
2. Decide on your audience. Once you can target and name your audience, you can cater the event to their needs & interests.
3. Set a budget. Once you have a budget, it is essential to know where to allocate most of your funds and resources.
4. Choose a theme or format. Pro Tip from Brian Worley, Owner & Creative Director of B. Worley Productions: "Determine what you are going to do to make this an ‘out of the box' event. Spend the time now to figure out what will differentiate your event from similar ones in your industry or even ones you've previously produced."
5. Establish a planning checklist. See above.
6. Venue sourcing. Remember that location is key to attendance.
7. Build an engaging agenda. It's crucial to allow time for your attendees to process what they're learning, connect with other attendees, and to recharge.
8. Embrace technology. Invest in a purpose-built event management solution that you can rely on to plan, execute and analyze your event.
9. Event marketing. Promote your event to build anticipation with attendees and stakeholders, while making them feel more invested and involved.
10. Wrap up loose ends: Celebrate & Analyze. Do not forget to collect feedback. Survey not only your attendees, but also your employees, sponsors and speakers in order to gather event feedback and learn what to do better next time.
I hope this post has provided you with a general understanding in order to head into your next event planning experience with more confidence and organization. It may seem like a tall order but planning a corporate event can be a fun and straight-forward task if you understand ahead of time what needs to be done. After all, once it's broken down into smaller, more manageable steps, it's much easier to conceptualize, plan and execute. No go out there and plan an event your attendees won't forget!
Betsy Collings, Corporate Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort