Choose an easily accessible venue
- Going over the top for your venue can be counter-productive, especially if you’re not planning an event for the super-rich to attend
- The harder the venue is to reserve, the harder it will be to efficiently manage your event.
Set a clear, realistic, plottable timeline
- There are a multitude of charts you can download for free to help you plot the actual timeline of events for what should get done and when
Reserve your venue (very) early
- The earlier you reserve your venue, the better.
- Depending on the size and special nature of the event, sometimes it’s recommended to reserve your venue even a year or more ahead of time.
Build a great supporting team of professionals
- Choose a caterer you already know or have been served by before. Or…
- Try out caterers before you actually finalize a decision for a final one before your event
- Music and entertainment
- Speak with a DJ about what music will set the ambience of the event ahead of time, that way there are no surprises. Know the whole playlist if you can, while setting terms and limitations for any requests that your attendees may make
- Contract a photographer who has a vision or style that already aligns with yours. This way, you don’t have to guide them or train them in much of anything in particular. You can just hire them, let them do their thing once they arrive at your event.
Keep all supporting professionals within quick, digital reach
- Most if not all of the professionals you will contract will have a LinkedIn page.
- In LinkedIn you can keep them within a fingertip’s reach, having them at attention with a single direct message
- Leverage the power of your smartphone
- Modern smartphones are precisely that: smart. You can leverage their digital capabilities to organize the list of everyone you need in your professional support team.
- Keep a spreadsheet of everyone’s contact information, pricing, etc.
- This is a great way of keeping a bird’s eye view of everything that you are doing to build your list of supporting professionals for your event.
- Don’t just save their names and contact information; have different custom fields for that sets them apart, including relations management notes pertaining to what to remember about them the next time you contact them.
Send the invites to your event far ahead of time
- Anywhere between three weeks to a year.
- The bigger the event, the earlier you should send the invites.
Keep a digital RSVP system
- Automate and streamline the process of keeping track of who attends
- There are a variety of ways you can keep seamless digital track of who pledges to attend, as well as who actually attends
- Choose a method of keeping all of the RSVPs under one system
- Could be LinkedIn or Facebook event tracking
- Could be a separate event management tool or app
Learn how to negotiate?
- Learning how to negotiate may not seem like a big key to being a more organized event planner, but it is actually an integral skill.
- Learning how to negotiate means knowing how to pay less for more, which is a more efficient use of the budget within its limitations.
- Knowing how to better maximize what you can accomplish within your budgetary limitations yields a higher overall ROI (return on investment) for the overall event; or…
- It also allows you to do more for your attendees with less to work with, without losing ROI.
Plan a flexible budget
- Once you learn how to effectively negotiate, you can do more with less within your budgetary limitations.
- In that respect, the way to plan a flexible budget is not to itemize things until you reach the actual limit of your budget. Instead, list off what you will contract or buy, stopping well before the budget wall, leaving a certain percentage free, open, and untouched (perhaps 15%? 25%?).
- Then, negotiate where and how you can for that which you did list to pay for
Have contingency plans for everything
- It is through the development of contingency plans that you will see how to effectively integrate “flexibility” into your overall event plan.
- Develop your plan. Celebrate that you’ve developed it…but then review your plan, with Murphy’s Law in mind: everything that can go wrong will. So, imagine what those would and could be, and then tweak the plan accordingly into a more refined second draft of the plan before settling upon what you’ve planned as final.
Personally experience the constituents of your event that you contract ahead of time
- Personally physically go to the venue of your choice before you decide upon that place as final.
- Personally know the playlist of the DJ or the music of the live band you may have ahead of time. Possibly even take the time to build the playlist yourself in a way that you can just pass to the DJ to take responsibility for.
- Actually taste each of the dishes that your caterer will prepare ahead of time.
- The more you can develop your plan from personal experience, the more you can intuitively “feel” your way through the planning process, rather than intellectualize through theory that your brain has not internalized. Doing so will not only make you a more efficient event planner; it will also lower your own stress levels.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
- Find a reliable assistant (even more than one if necessary)
- Ideally, get an event-planing agency like Traveler’s Q to help you.
- Summarize key points (tell them what you told them)
- CTA to request a proposal from Traveler’s Q