As an actor, speaker, comedian, and past events coordinator, my work life revolves primarily around events. From weddings to huge corporate conferences to a small backyard bluegrass bbq, I’ve seen and experienced a lot. Every event is unique, but event planning is not. A $100,000 Conference requires the same planning process as a $100 birthday party. This series of blogs is designed to help you break down the planning process into simple steps to help make your event a success.
The Day of Doom
It was a normal workday. Nothing out of the ordinary, until your boss calls you in and tosses a casual comment about you heading up this year’s corporate party/event. As you walk out if his office, you can feel your stomach drop and the questions start to swirl. “Event? What kind of event? For who? Corporate as in, our office Corporate, or the entire across the US/World Corporate?”
Before scanning the internet for a new job, relax and jot down the following questions. You can either ask yourself, the event person from last year, your boss or anyone else in charge.
Who specifically is the Event For?
Is the event for your department? Entire Office? Are Spouses coming? Children? Is it for the community?
-If it is for the community-who exactly in the community?
Once this is answered you need to get specific.
What are Their Demographics?
-What are their age ranges?
-Largely married or single?
-Do they have kids or no kids?
-Economic Status? (This is especially important when planning fundraisers or ticketed events.)
What is the Overall Goal of the Event?
-Is it to raise money?
-Woo new clients?
-Celebrate and acknowledge employees?
-Is it to recognize and appreciate donors?
-Strictly for having fun?
I can’t emphasize enough how important the overall goal of your event is. You’ll need to filter through every idea from food to decorations to entertainment through the funnel of: “Does it help facilitate the overall goal of the event?”
Is There a Theme?
This can make your life much easier if there is a theme. If there’s not, than I strongly suggest you and the planning team come up with one. (I’ll have a blog specifically based on themes.) A good place to start is a company slogan that is being used this year for training or advertising purposes. For churches, a verse that has already been chosen. For non-profits, something that ties in your mission statement. These can be adjusted to fit within a holiday theme if needed. I’ll explain more, including examples, in the future blog regarding themes.
Is There a Budget?
Hopefully, there is a budget from the previous year. If not, you’ll need to start from scratch. The following questions are with the assumption there is a past budget to pull from.
-Where is the budget from last year?
-Is it adjustable at all?
-If so, who do I need to get approval from?
What Parts of the Event Last Year Were Successful/Unsuccessful?
This is a question you can ask to anyone you know who attended the previous year’s event. You will get a myriad of things people liked or didn’t like based on their demographics and personality. However, some things will stand out as unanimous. If the vegan potato bar was a hit-but the fire breathing hypnotist clown who was the board member’s son-was hated by everyone-you know what to nix or keep for this year.
Do I Get A Planning Team?
-Hopefully the answer is “yes”, “yes”, “yes”!
-Who chooses the planning team? (I will have a specific blog based on choosing a perfect planning team.)
-How much time do I get with them? If this is for work, it’s an important question to ask.
How Much Time Can I Spend Each Week on the Event?
-This is important if it’s part of your job. If the answer is 2 hours a week for 3 weeks, then you’ll need to plan a super easy event held at Chipotle’s. If it’s 5 Hours for 15 weeks, I want to come because it’ll be amazing.
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Humorist and Funny Motivational Speaker who is incessantly insecure with a chronic Thai Food / Netflix binge habit.