It’s that time of year again and it’s everywhere! The one thing you hate and can’t seem to avoid: Stress. Big or small it creeps into our lives, often indiscriminately. How can I impress my boss? Did I leave the oven on (gasp)? And will this event go as well as we’d hoped? Life has a funny way of making things that are supposed to be enjoyable blood-pressure inducing occasions. How can you combat this in your next event?
There are many details that go into planning an event. And sometimes completion of one task opens up about 37 more tasks needing to be completed. And then those open another 28….and so on and so forth. Right about now is when the stress starts kicking in… I wish I could tell you that the details don’t matter, but any event planner will tell you that success is in the details and execution. However, that doesn't mean you need to get bogged down or overwhelmed by them. You simply need to have a plan!
Having a plan for your event will allow you to manage stress and still enjoy your seminar, gala, conference, graduation, potty-training victory… you get the point. As the event day approaches, we advise you to consider and review the Three P’s of Event Success.
1. Planning. The one word that can initiate excitement and anxiety at the same time. We love it and hate it. Event planning occurs in stages. First, consider your goal for the event. Is it to raise money, raise awareness, educate, promote or simply to entertain? Then, think through some of the important and perhaps costly details. If it’s a seminar, do you need sponsorships and advertisements created? If it’s a corporate holiday party, who, specifically, is invited? Can they invite plus ones? From there you can build an event timeline to manage all of the details of the entire event, with due dates.
2. Preparing. Are you ever fully prepared? In an ideal world, yes. Depending on the type of event, there are a few ways to make sure you’re prepared so that you are free to handle the inevitable “emergencies”. It’s important to stick to your timeline as much as possible. Event planning is often a very slow and arduous domino effect. Everything that needs to be completed is dependent on something else being done first. If you don’t stay on top of your timeline, you could end up with a lot of details to consider right before your event. And you know what that means! STRESS! Your day-of itineraries should be sent out well in advance and all vendors and staff should receive a confirmation call the week of the big day. Whenever possible, have a meeting weeks in advance with all of the key players at the event venue as a dress-rehearsal to iron out any kinks.
3. Perfecting. Here it is! It’s the big day. All of the planning and preparation has led to this! Give yourself ample time to coordinate setup on the event day. Cushion yourself with at least an hour or two - this could be the difference between enjoying your night or quitting your association due to Post Traumatic Event Disorder (pssst! No matter how hard you try, you can’t prevent mishaps from occurring, but you can make sure you’re armed and ready for battle by giving yourself breathing room)! It’s important to have time to tweak and perfect the design, setup or even the itinerary at the 11th hour. This is the time every event planner lives for on the event day: Everything is in it’s place, you’ve had time to get dressed and put makeup on (you’ve been running around like a scary ratty mess all day) and there’s still time to slow down and take in all of the details - and even move a few around if need be. All of the planning and preparing has led to this important step. And you may even be able to have a glass of wine while you await first arrivals.