5 Steps on How to Make A Successful Event and Keep It All Together
Seeing the event industry from close for almost two decades, I see event management and project management having a lot of similarities. I think that is why I have always loved working in events.
A project can be defined as a temporary endeavor that is undertaken to create a unique service or product. The projects are different from regular ongoing operations in organizations, projects have a definite beginning and an end, just like an event would.
In both, you can break the process into five steps: Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing. Planning stage is the most crucial part and usually has the most steps.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are on the right track:
- What are your events mission and objectives, what is your goal?
- What is your scope, and what is not?
- What are the deliverables and how you know you have reached them?
- What are your resources? Where are you getting them?
- Who is in your team? What are their clear responsibilities?
- What is your schedule?
- What is your cost planning structure?
- What are you assuming? What are the dependencies of different tasks, departments?
- What about your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)? Are all the key deliverables organized?
- What if something goes wrong? What could be your worst case scenario? Your risks - risk maps.
- What is your goal or target? How do you know if you have reached it? How are you measuring it?
- What tools are you going to use? Who is going to use them? Who will be in charge of what?
- Proceed as planned, if something goes different from your plan, how to get back on track?
Monitoring & Controlling
- You need to manage the workflows, make sure the goals that were set up are being tracked for progress, making sure that the event keeps moving forward.
- Do not forget the post event reporting, closing properly. Making sure all has been taken care of and nothing left or overlooked. This helps you to see if you met your goals and what you can improve in the future.
So many things to remember
As there are a lot of things to remember, and many stages, when you start to list these items like this, it can get overwhelming, this has happened to me many times. And of course, different companies and countries are using different tools, let it be for example Microsoft or Google Docs etc.
As there is information and tools for project management, there is some help for event professionals as well. Gladly you are not the only one who has had to think this all through. There are online collaboration tools to help you to centralize the project communication, improve information exchange and increase efficiency.
For example, as event industry professionals already know, there are very specific forms, specifications and information that is needed when you are planning an event, especially on an international scale.
Event Specifications Guide
Events Industry Council have already made The Accepted Practices Exchange (formerly known as APEX) Event Specifications Guide which is an initiative that promotes development and implementation of industry-wide accepted practices to create and enhance efficiency through out the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry.
I have used this as a base in many occasions myself to make sure that I am not forgetting anything. Even if all the parts in it might not be something that is particularly fitting to your case, it does give a good base to make sure that you have taken everything into consideration. Most importantly you have it written down somewhere and you have had to go through all the questions at least once. It makes it especially useful when organizing international events.
So many different channels for information
Now that you have listed the steps and gone through them, you are starting to notice that you have dozens of different emails, files, papers, pictures handwritten notes, notes on computer, different charts, different people communicating in different ways, some of the team members are in a different country and different time zones… it starts to get a little hard to try to make sure that you are able to keep all the balls in the air, so does speak, and not to drop any of them. Sound familiar?
To me, I think that it is exactly that rush that I think has me in love with this industry. The fact that everything can change in a second and you will have to have plan a, b, c, d already ready to prepare for the unexpected.
What I would say is the biggest difference when starting in the early 2000’s is all the tools that we have now. You are able to connect with people via videos, chats etc. We are so lucky that there are these reminders and task lists, notifications, platforms and places where you can share your information, connect with people etc.
Structure your communication
The problem is that there are too many of all of them... Email here, calendar here, writing a blog post here, working on this intranet, this chat platform, clou
d storage here, but that is not compatible with this etc. I think that the future will be with the solution that has something that will make all these thousands of differ
ent logins and information places into one. One place where I can just go, save and access my files, work on my documents, do what is needed and not to worry about who is putting information and to where and me missing it.
You can read more about how to structure your communication so that you will not loose control but instead having it all under control.
"In short, to survive in today's world, you need to make sure that you have all the information in one place and you have a place to share it with others. A place to be able to help each other succeed and to make sure that the time that you are working, you work efficiently."
About the author:
Linda Nilsson is a Finnish /Canadian International Business Development and Event Management Professional. Her Consulting Company Nillin Consulting helps companies with Business Development, Internalization and Event Management. More info: https://nillin.fi/