You are all set: The event planning went smoothly, and you’re ready to open the venue gates for the first arriving attendees. Everything seems under control. Your team members are happy to kick off the event. The volunteers are well prepared. Your service providers executed their part perfectly. However, you are more nervous than ever. That’s normal.
Most event-related articles will show you how to plan, promote, and manage your event, but very few focus on getting you through the event day(s) successfully.
You see, although the planning component of an event is essential, it’s not the only factor that determines your results. The way you run the event can undo all of your planning efforts. But on the contrary, it might help you harness your logistic and marketing efforts. The way you run an event is just as important as the way you prepare it.
Imagine you created comprehensive venue maps, but people are still getting lost on their way to other conference rooms. Or what if some of the attendees weren’t offered any canapés because the servers moved too slowly and didn’t make their way throughout the entire room?
What if the speakers’ microphones suddenly stopped working and you have to delay the opening session? As you can see, lots of things can go wrong during the event, and no matter how much you prepare, some of them just can’t be avoided. Unforeseeable things happen, so get used to it.
But when they do happen, what can you do to react quickly and mend the situation? Here’s a pre-event must-read list of recommendations that will help ensure your event is executed flawlessly:
Create different online chat groups for your team(s)
This tip is especially important if the event venue is big (like trade shows and exhibitions). A good way to touch base with all of your different event teams is by creating online groups (like on WhatsApp).
You can opt in for portable radios, but there are a few risks to consider. Some of your team members may not be sure how to use them, or having too many teams (audiovisuals, catering, volunteers, attendee support, etc.) on the same channel can cause confusion.
Online groups for different teams may work better, since everyone knows how to text. But be mindful and strict about chats. People tend to send memes or jokes, which can be distracting. So be clear that these online chat groups should only be used for urgent matters or to touch base.
Make sure not everything depends on you
You might be the event coordinator, but that doesn’t mean that everything should fall on your shoulders. Others should also have a say, plus this will help you to ignore problems and issues that other team members can handle.
Learn how to hand over responsibilities and trust your colleagues. Brief everyone on the importance of taking some matters into their own hands and finding quick solutions. Whether it’s with you or without you, it’s your job to make sure that the event will run no matter what.
Remind your team about potential issues during the event
The day before or the morning of the event, schedule a quick meeting with your team members and brief them on the possible challenges they may encounter during the event. Indicate what they should pay careful attention to and explain the ramifications of these challenges.
For example, you know that some of the speakers will arrive from the airport minutes before their presentation. Talk to your team about the things that might delay their arrival (for example, the plane landing later than expected or a traffic jam on the way to the event), then agree upon what to do if this happens. In addition, run a Q&A session and answer all of your event team’s questions.
Have a representative for each event-related area
Every event-related aspect should have a delegate, someone who’ll be in charge for confronting and fixing issues that may appear. Whether it’s catering, audiovisuals, or check-in, dividing these responsibilities will ensure the strength of your event execution.
Create a personalized schedule for the event volunteers
To make sure your event runs smoothly, your volunteers’ activities should be well-coordinated. Every single person must know their tasks and schedule. That’s why in addition to assigning a delegate for volunteer activities, you also must give volunteers a personalized program that will allow them to navigate the event environment easily.
Although stressful, the day(s) of the event will be always memorable. It’s the end result of months of planning and work. The one last final effort you should make is ensuring a flawless execution and dealing with any on-site challenges. However, with the right preparation and necessary help, you’ll be able to conquer this last final challenge.
Good advice and so germane given the significant time and resources spent in event preparation. Failing at the last hurdle would be a tragedy. With regard reminding your team about potential issues I would place more emphasis on this activity. There is no substitution for experience, except perhaps fervent preparation. Depending on the scale of the event, consider having a table top exercise with the event team, that way many eventualities can be rehearsed well in advance. And remember, it’s not over until the event space is handed back and you’ve had a decent de-brief.