Timesaving Event Planning Tips
The saying, “There’s never enough time in a day,” rings especially true for event planners. With so many aspects to planning and coordinating an event, not to mention troubleshooting every problem that occurs, every deadline feels like a race to the finish with two more right behind.
Your time is valuable, and how you choose to allocate it is equally valuable. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to earn some precious hours back.
Utilize Event Software
The days of manually planning an event are a thing of the past. Using event software will make the planning process more efficient, help you consolidate all of your processes, and create a unified brand experience for your guests. With event software, you can monitor your budget, manage communications with staff and stakeholders, maintain your marketing plan, and more.
There are plenty of event software options available, so you will need to do some homework to find the best solution for you. However, once you do, you should see some significant timesaving benefits. According to Bizzabo, “on average, businesses that use event software save 223 hours a year.”
Trust Your Staff
You have to know when you delegate a job to a member of your staff that it will get done correctly and on time. If you feel that you need to micromanage every aspect, you either have the wrong people working for you, or you need to take a chill pill.
Planning and coordinating an event is a monumental venture, and you can’t do everything. Sure, you may want to or feel like you have to, but you can’t. Delegate some tasks to your staff to clear some room on your plate.
To help ensure that everything is accomplished on time, create a spreadsheet that clearly shows every task, the person in charge, the task’s deadline, and the priority level. You may also want to include a column for the current status. That way, you can check in with any employee who is not keeping you apprised. It will allow your employees to work independently while you are assured that the work is getting done.
Hire Some Help
You may discover that, even as you delegate tasks, your workload remains unbearable. It could be that you simply do not have enough staff to manage this portion of the event, but you also may lack the budget to hire someone new. Set aside some of the event budget to fill gaps in your staff with freelancers. Whether you need help with website development, copywriting, or customer support, there are sites and communities where you can find readily available help.
Find and Prepare Volunteers
There are also plenty of tasks for your event that do not require previous or extensive experience. If your event is for a charitable cause, it’s likely that you will easily find some volunteers. If it’s a corporate gig, there may be some college students or people looking to switch careers willing to lend a hand to gain some experience. If that doesn’t work, you may need to reach out to friends and family.
Regardless of where you find them, it is extremely important that the volunteers are aware of their responsibilities and prepared for the day. This means reaching out and making sure they are primed before the event. You will likely be too busy on the day of the event to answer training questions.
Volunteers also can’t be expected to troubleshoot as efficiently as a staff member, so make sure they know how to handle complaints in a manner that won’t exacerbate a situation. It’s a good idea to have uniforms that clearly identify volunteers. This both makes them easy to find and tempers expectations. People are much more willing to accept an “I don’t know, but I’ll check” answer from a volunteer than a staff member.
Also, make sure to create a “thank you” package for your volunteers. Remember that their time is precious, too. So, since you are not paying them, find some other way to compensate them, such as complimentary food, free event admission, etc.
Create Training Videos
Ensuring that your staff is ready for the big day(s) goes beyond making sure they understand their event responsibilities. Regardless of whether they are paid employees or volunteers, there may be organizational procedures people need to learn. Also, everyone working your event needs to be informed of how they are to behave and present themselves while representing your event.
However, training takes time, and it may not be a responsibility that you feel comfortable handing off. By creating a training video, you only need to give the instructions once, and staff and volunteers can go over the lessons at their leisure. You can even give a quiz upon completion to ensure that the information was understood.
As the Event Nears, Plan for the Unexpected
How do you prepare for something when you don’t know what to plan for? Well, the first step is to accept that something unexpected will occur at your event. Second, gather your staff for a “what if” meeting where you brainstorm potential complications and how to manage those situations.
For example, what would you do if a vendor canceled at the last minute? Instead of scrambling for a replacement, prepare a list of back-up vendors that includes their relevant information and rates for last-minute services. This list should contain at least three options for each vendor your event utilizes.
You’ll never be able to predict all of the issues that could occur but being ready for some will help minimize the impact of most difficulties.
Always Have a List of Speakers Ready
The right speakers can be just what someone who is undecided needs to purchase a ticket to your event. So, it is crucial to recruit speakers who both entertain and inform. This is why you need to book your speakers as soon as possible. Once you have secured a venue, someone needs to call agencies, speaker bureaus, or the speakers themselves to secure their engagement.
Keep in touch with all speakers you like over social media and the occasional email. By staying on their radar, you are more likely to be first in line should they be asked to choose between two engagements.
Also, maintain a list of potential speakers. Whenever you run across a great lecture or someone influential in your industry, keep their name close. This way, you won’t have to go searching for names when the time comes to secure event speakers.
Monitoring social media, answering emails, and responding to texts can take up a disproportionate amount of your time. Also, with so many messages spread across so many mediums, it can be easy to miss a message.
An event services solution allows you to merge message threads, share documents, and update project statuses in real-time in a single location. Similarly, there are tools that will collect all of your social media channels in a single dashboard, so you can keep an eye on several conversations without needing to bounce between services.
Find a Partner
With so many moving parts to an event, the more help you have, the better. Reach out to an event agency to discover how this type of organization can help your event. A full-service event agency can help secure a venue, manage a marketing plan, create experiential campaigns, coordinate shipping, conceptualize and design event layouts, and more. One of the best ways to regain some time in your schedule is to surround yourself with professionals you can trust.