Event management is not a new discipline.
In fact, it’s nearly as old as the Egyptian pyramids. Did you know that the first known event planner was Cleopatra? Her lavish events wouldn’t have been possible without a ready supply of helpers. (In her case, servants and slaves.) And they somehow managed without any of our modern technology.
Corporate event planning takes a lot of hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Whether you’re organising a product launch, a conference, or client hospitality event, getting all the details right—on time and on budget—will take a lot of effort.
Which is why it’s totally unhelpful to be told dubious truths about event planning. These not only turn out to be wrong but can actually hinder your progress and, ultimately, the success of your event.
Here are 6 such “facts” and how to avoid them.
1. It takes one person to organise an event
It is highly unlikely that a single person will be able to handle all the different elements that go into planning a corporate event. In fact, the bigger, longer, and more complex the event, the more help you are going to need to make it all come together perfectly on the day.
Sure, one event manager can coordinate everyone’s efforts and take all the important decisions. But you will need specialist helpers—either in-house or outsourced—to deal with individual aspects such as:
- Finding the venue
- Organising group catering
- Booking entertainment
- Planning the programme
- …and much more
2. Corporate events are formal affairs
Offices have a reputation for being stuffy places to work. So no wonder the same courtesy is extended to off-site corporate events.
In decades gone by, large, formal conference gatherings may have been the norm. That is no longer the case in the 21st century.
While you would certainly expect your event to be professional, there’s no reason why the format can’t be casual. Perhaps even a bit quirky and—shock, horror—enjoyable. How about a sumptuously decorated party marquee rather than a standard hotel meeting room?
3. No need to schedule the event with military precision
A clear schedule planned with the utmost of precision is exactly what’s required. Many event organisers try to run the day without worrying too much about timings of sessions or breaks. The inevitable result is chaos, with delegates not knowing where they are supposed to be at any given time, while speakers are unsure of how much time they have available.
A much more professional approach is to draw up a strict itinerary with a timetable of events, including lunchtime, break times, and evening events where necessary.
4. The venue doesn’t really matter
This is perhaps one of the biggest myths out there.
In fact, the opposite is absolutely true. Sourcing the right venue can be the secret to a successful and memorable business event.
It starts with the location:
- Can everyone get there and back easily?
- Is there fast and reliable WiFi?
- Does the atmosphere set the right tone?
The venue is the basis for everything that happens there. Yet it also needs to be able to cater for all your needs. Whether you choose a luxury nightclub, a private garden venue, or a historic palace, don’t skimp on the research and make sure you wow your delegates and guests.
5. You don’t need a Plan B
Relying on nothing but your original plan is a dangerous approach. Remember Murphy’s Law that says “whatever can go wrong will go wrong”?
While you should of course make sure you’ve checked and double-checked every item on your event planning list, there’s never a guarantee.
Even the most skilfully planned events can go awry when you least expect it: There’s been a freak storm and your venue has a power cut. Your keynote speaker cancels at short notice due to laryngitis. Marketing collateral is delayed at the printers’.
Whatever it is, you must have a backup, just in case.
6. There’s nothing else to do at the end of the event
It would be lovely to think that you can kick back after a hard day’s conference or training day.
But far from it: Your work isn’t done just yet.
Once you’ve finalised and settled up with the venue, there are important post-event tasks to carry out that can take days or weeks. From feedback questionnaires to other performance measurements. From follow-up emails to reporting tasks.
There’s plenty of work to do to make sure that your event has achieved its goals.
Author: Dakota Murphey provides content for a small selection of event industry sites including Billetto.