Planning to hold an event in the near future? Then start planning immediately. There is no time to lose. Always allow plenty of time for preparations – it is the only way to reduce the chances of anything going wrong.
Never leave the preparations until the last minute because you are likely to forget things and find speakers are not available. Venues can get booked up very quickly.
Identify your budget and exactly what type of venue and facilities you will need. Draw up your event programme and book speakers. Inspect the venue and talk to all the facilities providers. Hire any audio visual equipment that you might need – in doubt talk to the AV company and seek their help to identify the best equipment.
What about security? Will you need to hire security guards. This is very important if you have celebrities or politicians present. A breach in security can lead to bad publicity – just think of those scenes streamed across the internet when politicians have been pelted with eggs or paint.
At every stage in your preparations, always ask yourself the key question – what can go wrong? Be honest. Look for the things that can go wrong and try to prevent it. A speaker might cancel at the last minute due to illness – have several alternative names ready to be called on in an emergency. Or find an alternative activity that could be introduced such as dividing into workshops or providing a presentation.
Never rely on the weather if you are planning an outdoor event. You can take out insurance against really bad weather occurring, but even a sudden shower of rain for a few minutes can cause problems. Have a marquee or a room indoors available where people can take shelter. Make sure it is big enough for the potential number of people involved, not just the participants but also the AV equipment and any support staff.
On the day, arrive well ahead of time. Check out the rooms, the food, the audio visual equipment, computer equipment, web streaming facilities. During the event, be ready to deal instantly with any last minute problems – fire alarms going off, electricity failure, a speaker being late, someone being ill.
Above all, be prepared for every eventuality and then your event will be a success.