I wanted to share some tips I have for running events. In the last seven years or so, I have run events that were small meetup style events all the way up to conferences where accountability and planning spanned dealing with thousands of attendees and a large team of volunteers to get work done. Here are some of the best practices I have learned through experience or from other event planners.
Communication is King
As an event organizer, one of the most important responsibilities you have is communicating regular updates to those who volunteer or are on your team that is supporting your event. That means keeping a roster of those who have offered to help and sending out high level updates on a regular basis. Additionally, it is the responsibility of an organizer to ensure that each person who has offered to help is giving instructions on their task and knows the deadline for their deliverables.
Don’t expect volunteers to come to you but instead make communication a part of your workflow for the event and better yet update the community, project or company that is associated with the event so everyone knows the progress of the event.
Document All the Things
Keeping a roster is one good way of documenting who your event supporters are but it is also good to have a master plan highlighting all the tasks that need completion in order to make your event a success, who the owner of each task is, and what the current status is and when the task is due.
Overestimate Your Budget
There is nothing worse than being short in your budget so always give yourself a little bit of padding after you have listed all your expected costs that way if some failure happens for a purchase not arriving or something to that effect you can go ahead and purchase that item the day of the event and have budget to cover it.
Recognize Your Teams Contribution
Be sure to regularly thank your team for the hard work they are putting in to make the event a success. In the case of working with a team of volunteers, they choose to be there and so recognizing their daily work and praising them will make them feel good about that work. Recognition will also increase likelihood of future volunteering for events.
Ensure Attendee Enjoyment
Make sure that you plan some fun events for not only your team but for event participants in order to make sure the event is fun and not just work. In the case of your team, you could have an icebreaker activity and team dinner and for participants you could offer a mixer on the first night of your event.
Promoting the Event
Do go through your contacts and let people who might be interested know about the event. Use mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and perhaps even sites like Lanyrd. Engage local meetups and coworking spaces and tell them about your upcoming event.
At the very minimum, you should start promoting your event four weeks before it happens and continually promote it until the last day of the event or the day of in the case of a single day event.
During the Event
Be sure to have people introduce themselves and you should also go out an try and meet every participant and find out what they do and what they are interested in. The hallway track of any event can be one of the most valuable experiences for any attendee.
After the Event
Create a Facebook Group, mailing list or some other way of keeping people connected this will help create a community around your event that will help it grow in the future and help it continue for many future iterations. Also be sure to encourage attendees and the event team to share out memorable photos on social media so your even reaches those who couldn’t attend.
Do you have any tips for planning and running an awesome event? Share them below in the comments!