With every commendable event comes a headstrong, professional planner behind it. It may seem like all fun and games from the attendee perspective, but there’s more to it then that. It’s a completely different world on the planning end but the attendee doesn’t know that right? Because in order to conduct a successful event, the event planner has to set the standards high, every time.
Aside from the positive attitude, attention to detail and crisis prevention skills needed to do the job, there are key guidelines that everyone should remember to follow. Follow these and you’ll surely be on your way to organizing one of the best events yet.
Guideline #1: Know Your Audience.
This relates to absolutely everyone involved. Getting to know the client, understanding the attendee group, learning how the caterers work, what the tech team needs to be set up for success, etc, are all a part of the fundamentals that make the entire event whole. It’s crucially important to dissect all the needs and be super clear on what the clients expectations are. There’s no such thing as asking too many questions. The more questions you ask, the more topics that are covered and the more spot on you’ll be when event day arrives. We plan for amazing, not mediocre.
The client will probably be your main contact for overall logistics, but there are many people involved when coordinating what needs to happen. When you take the time to send emails, schedule calls, research the companies and the people involved, it can make a huge difference in YOUR perspective of the event, not just who’s going to be there. If you want things done the way the client envisions, you have to put yourself in their place and learn how they think. You’ll be a lot more successful in event planning, and in life, if you can truly understand the needs of other people.
Guideline #2 Build the Relationship.
Whoever you’re in contact with, it’s very likely you’ll be communicating with this person often. Get to know them. Not just on a professional level, but a personal level as well. From the very beginning, make sure to establish a welcoming and positive relationship with the client. The benefits from building a relationship that’s successful from the start, are endless. I always say, happy client, happy life. It doesn’t rhyme or have any significant meaning to it, it’s just true.
It’s also not just about building personal relationships for yourself, it’s about building trust and a reputation in the workforce and the company you work for. Every interaction a client has with the company, reflects on what they’ll think of the company as a whole. The more you get to know and love your clients, the more they’ll love you. The more they’ll want to work with you and the more they’ll want to refer you to others. It’s a climb to the top, in other words. Regardless what your title is, if you’re planning events, you’re contributing to the sales and success of the company. Without you, the events wouldn’t happen.
Guideline #3 Plan Ahead.
The beauty of planning events is that more often than not, you have plenty of time to get things done. A great event takes time and dedication. This can take several weeks to several months to perfect. That’s why it’s the best opportunity to make sure you have the resources you need and to solve any problems that arise. As soon as you know the details, get on them! If catering menus have been confirmed, get the order processed. If certain flowers need to be arranged, call the florist and give them a heads up so they can give you a timeline. If you need to update your equipment for lighting and sound, start getting quotes, as these things tend to take time to maintain.
In other words, refrain from being a last minute Lucy. Getting the job done right, means being prepared and checking things off your list as soon as possible. When you’re dealing with goods and services on different levels, the turnaround time could be longer than expected. It’ll save you a lot of time and money if you start the process sooner rather than later. Buy yourself a organizer/planner, set calendar reminders and keep a list of your contacts. Be the person who knows exactly what’s going on. Nothing can get past you.
Guideline #4 Have a backup plan.
Even the best event planner can’t always have things flow the way they want them to. Accepting this is key to creating success, regardless of any setbacks. If you want to be the go-to person for your event, and in your company, always have a solution. If the band cancels last minute, have 3 more contacts to call and get a new band scheduled. If there’s attendees that just notified the client they only eat Kosher food, reach out to the attendees and confirm that the options you’ve researched are satisfactory for them. If there’s a power outage in the area, bribe the technicians to fix your territory first. Okay, so maybe that’s a little too far.
Sometimes, even the rockstars that we are, can’t always create miracles. The most important part of handling an issue that’s out of your hands is to handle it with grace and professionalism. Presenting whatever bad news you have can make all the difference in the way the client will react. Having suggestions, alternatives or even just classic good vibes can help the client be understanding and grateful they have someone like you to make things better.
Keep your head in the game.
Never lose sight of what the end goal is. It can take a lot of hours, hard work, back and forth communication and some stressful situations when trying to create the perfect event. Remembering your role, your responsibility and keeping your integrity throughout the entire process will make all the difference in the outcome.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious or stressed, just take a step back. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and find your center again. Remind yourself why you’re there and how awesome you’ll feel when everything is done the right way. No one gets far in their career without hard work. It’s inevitable, so hang in there you all-star event planner. The show will always go on.