When it comes down to it, event planning is a details game. That’s because there are SO many to keep track of. Between your multiple audiences (vendors, volunteers, attendees, sponsors, staff) and their various needs and wants...it’s enough to make even the most veteran event planner’s head spin!
But whether you ARE a veteran or a total amateur, juggling all of that makes it easy to forget something. So, what details in particular tend to trip event planners up the most? Here are seven to keep in mind:
1. Having miscellaneous office supplies on hand
It’s so easy to get caught up in the items we know we need (name tags, pamphlets, computer chargers, etc.) that we often forget the items we might need - tape, scissors, staplers, pens. It seems so obvious, but when you’re running around with less than 24 hours until your event, a stapler isn’t exactly top of mind.
In the weeks leading up to the event, have a list labeled “Misc. Supplies.” As you think of items you might need, jot them down. Then, a couple days before your event, revisit that list to make sure there aren’t any glaring holes.2. Having “extra” (and enough of it)
This one’s tough because it’s kind of a guessing game. You may never nail down “the perfect amount” but do plan on having extra where and when it makes sense (and fits comfortably within your budget). We’re talking extra food, name tags, and event collateral, in particular.
3. Having staff and volunteer contact information handy at all times
Let’s say, leading up to your event, email has been your team’s primary method of communication. Nothing wrong with that! But the second you leave for your actual event, you (and everyone else working) should have everyone’s phone number handy.
So often we think, “Oh, if I need their number, I’ll just look it up later.” But what if there’s an issue with WiFi? (I say this from experience.) Plus, who has time for that during the event itself. Bottom line: It’s just better to have those cell phone numbers handy.
Another great tool is to create a group chat (or multiple) with key players so you have a central spot for your on-site communications that aren’t face-to-face.
4. Having more than enough staff at registration
When planning an event, it’s tempting to want to spread your staff and volunteers out - having a few people up front, a few people “backstage,” a few people outside - you get the picture. But, when your event first starts, you may want to consider having more people at registration than anywhere else. (You can always transition those people elsewhere later.)
This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people get it wrong. Sometimes three people upfront SEEMS like enough, but hang-ups happen. And considering registration is the first thing people experience at your event, you want it to go well.
First impressions matter, so ample help is critical!
5. Having the WiFi credentials printed or featured somewhere
Have you ever been to an event and NOT been able to connect to WiFi? Not because of internet issues, but because you didn’t know the credentials. It’s frustrating!
Don’t do that to your attendees. You may be familiar with the WiFi situation, but they aren’t. Make it easy for them by printing and/or featuring the credentials somewhere. (And in fact, the more places you’re able to include it - on presentation screens, in your pamphlets - the better.)
6. Having the event’s social media info printed or featured somewhere
We want people to engage with us at events, but we can’t expect them to if we don’t tell them how. That said, if you have an event hashtag, feature that prominently at your event. Include your event’s social media handles as well so attendees know who to follow and tag. Not only will attendees benefit from this, but so will your organization in terms of online engagement.
7. Having a backup plan
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan - for everything. We often take this into account with weather, but we should really get into the habit of doing that with other things as well. What if there’s a technology mishap? Or there’s not enough food? Things happen, and it’s better to have a plan B that you don’t have to use than none at all.
Want more tips for ensuring your event is a total success? Check out our guide, 9 Steps to Event Planning, below: It’s filled with best practices for before, during, and after your event, and best of all, it’s free!