Anyone who works in events planning knows that the job of a Professional Events Organiser is wide-ranging and intense. As well as the creative side, you have to coordinate teams and suppliers; negotiate prices, contracts and conditions with the different parties involved in the development of the event, and ensure that everything complies with the planned timeframe.
It is a profession that requires a great capability to coordinate and maintain control over absolutely everything that happens. For this reason, it is important to know which tools can make the difference between being one of the crowd and being a true Rock Star of event planning.
Advance planning is key, especially when dealing with large scale or international events. However, this is not always possible; often a client makes the request with a short time margin or the suppliers with whom you want to work take their time in replying or sending their suggestions or pricing quotes.
It makes no difference if you are dealing with a large congress or a small convention, or even the amount of forward planning. As the day gets nearer the intensity usually increases and there are always last-minute requests or unforeseen problems that must be resolved in record time. Often the work seems to be against the clock.
The majority of tasks do not directly depend on the organiser, but rather on collaborators and suppliers they are working with, and even when everything works like clockwork, it’s difficult to get all the pieces to fit together perfectly.
This pace of work often stops us from seeing things with perspective or finding new tools that help to manage, coordinate and control everything more effectively. In this article we will give you some ideas that can make these tasks easier and can help any events organiser to plan like a true Rock Star.
Firstly, it is essential to have a well-defined Briefing. It may seem obvious, but often the client doesn’t prepare one, and so the agency should do it after the first meeting to ensure everything is crystal clear and if there are any misunderstandings, they can be resolved before continuing with the job. It is necessary in order to prepare the Contra-briefing, where the agency sets out any queries and comments or helps to better define those points that were unclear initially or do not correspond with the reality of what the client needs.
At the briefing, you must ensure the following points are defined:
Context or starting point
General information about the event, description and situation of the company, the number of previous editions and where they were held, the impact they had …
Objetives of the event
What do we want to achieve? (leads, sales, headlines, to capture investors, provide incentives …)
Who is the event aimed at? What type of people will be attending? Specialist audience, professionals, influencers, end customers, fans, employees….
Sometimes an event is held exclusively for a certain specialist public, although it is beneficial that other sectors or audiences know about the existence of the event.
It seems obvious, but we mustn’t forget it. It is key to defining or ruling out venues and space and will limit how far you can go with the proposal.
Content and format
It is very important to know what type of content the event will be providing and the format in which it will be offered, although this may be suggested by the organiser, according to the requirements and objectives set out.
Publicity for the event
Publicity isn’t always managed by the planner. It must be clear who will do it and how. The client might hire a specialized press agency or it might have already a its own press office.
Requisites for the destination and venue
If there are any, type of destination (rural, urban, beach, easily reached, remote, with activities, cosmopolitan…) and type of venue (avant-garde, innovative, ground-breaking, multifunctional spaces, natural light, surrounded by nature, building with personality, jaw-dropping design….).
Any relevant information necessary for planning the event. From a request that must be honoured or any legal aspects to be taken into account.
If you wish to know more about creating a briefing, here is a more detailed article on the subject: How to brief an event agency (source: Rapier Group)
Along with the briefing, it is important to set out a game plan where all the details are laid out step-by-step, who should be doing what, when steps should be completed by and which tasks have priority over others. You will therefore have to assign responsibilities to each member of your team, work out timings with delivery dates (as much for the team members as for the client and suppliers) and complete an exhaustive follow up on all tasks. There are other different tools available other than Excel sheets that can greatly facilitate your job.
This online tool has basic functions free of charge and a Pro version that is chargeable. With this app you can create folders for projects where you can manage lists of tasks pending and assign them to other people, upload any size of file, and various other functions.
Invite your team and suppliers to join, enabling everyone to be on the same page and meaning that tasks can be completed within the timeframe agreed. Task lists can be printed out or sent by e-mail.
Wunderlist is available as an App for Smartphone and Tablets, and so you can control it from wherever you are and any device.
Asana is another tool similar to Wunderlist, however, we believe it to be slightly more complete, and so, out of the two, we would prefer to use Asana. It has three levels, two are which are paid for. As well as the design of the interface, which we prefer, it has the advantage of possible interaction with other tools used by businesses and notifications that are sent to your email when tasks are marked as completed.
4. Google Drive / Docs
Google Docs is a very complete and useful tool, especially when there are different people or teams working on common projects who all need to access information, material or update documents.
It is advisable that roles are defined in order to know who can edit files and who can’t, as working online implies that any misunderstanding can mean that information is lost or mistakes are made that are difficult to detect.
You can create Excel documents where you can assign tasks to each person and define a calendar with tasks, deadlines, project leaders …
Eventbrite is a platform that allows you to promote your event, send invitations, manage attendance confirmations and tickets for your event. Attendees can register very quickly and get their ticket instantly via the mobile app or e-mail.
Socialtables is a very useful platform for event planning and it perfectly complements the others. As well as helping you to find and select venues for the event, it allows you to create templates with the montage design of the function rooms, manage the seating arrangements and the guest check-in.
This has been our selection of ideas and tools that we consider to be of greatest interest and that can help turn you into a true Rock Star events planner. We are sure that there are many others that you are aware of, and so we would be delighted if you would like to share other examples in the comments section.