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How to Plan and Implement a Successful Event

By Christian Parrish, Account Director and Events Specialist

As we are in the holiday season, the number of special events will increase whether it be hosting and planning holiday parties; sponsorships of events or hosting gatherings with clients.  For a little over seven years, I have had the privilege of working with numerous clients, helping them plan and implement their special events. Along the way, I have learned many things.  

Since I am a detail-oriented person the logistics behind planning an event and watching it unfold is something I enjoy.  You may not be a detail-oriented person like me, and if you are not, you can still host a great event by keeping in mind a few things:

Purpose – Before you start planning an event decide what the main purpose is for the event.  Having a purpose gives you the support you need that you can fall back on when issues arise.  

Overall Plan – Before you start planning the event, develop and document an overall plan.  This type of plan needs to be an overview of what is going to happen from start to finish. It should include the date/dates of the event and timing.  Do not forget to allow for set-up and clean-up. Also include a program or how the event will flow. 

The 5 Ws of an event – Included in your overall plan should be the answers to who, what, when, where, why and how.  The why should be covered in your purpose statement. In the early planning stages, you may not know the answer to all questions, and that is fine if you know what questions need to be answered.  Refer to the plan often, adding any necessary information. It is important that your colleagues from the CEO to the receptionist also know the 5 Ws, so that there is no miscommunication during the event.

Timing – Within the plan, you should develop a timeline, day by day, hour by hour. What I mean by that is noting what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.  If you are going to send out invitations, then you need to develop the invite list and set a time to send them out. You want to give people enough advance notice, in order to anticipate a great turnout.  Also, documenting the timing of when things need to be accomplished will help you keep track of things and lessen the likelihood that something is forgotten. And on the day of, you need a ‘Run of Show’ that addresses the hour by hour of when the caterer shows, when the doors open, when the toast is to be shared by the CEO, etc.

Budget – Do not forget the budget for the event.  There are numerous reasons why you should develop a budget.  Some reasons include knowledge of the overall expense of the event and knowing specifically how you will be funding the event and when it is due.  Ideally, you should develop a budget as you plan and before you implement the planning process.     

Marketing – Decide early on how you are going to market your event.  M any You may decide to only send invitations to select people or you may want to invite the public.  For a public event, social media can be a great communications channel as they have built in event templates. For a private event, evites or printed invitations are most appropriate but be aware that follow up calls may be necessary to gain attention during the busy holiday season.

Enjoy – It is important that you enjoy the event you worked so hard to plan and implement.  Anticipate problems beforehand because, there are going to be problems. Think through how you can handle certain problems if they arise.  A well-developed plan will eliminate most problems. Take a moment to savor the event because, you cannot get that time back.  

Evaluate – Following the conclusion of the event, set a time to evaluate the entire process.  Most people do not take the time to do this, but I believe this is an essential component of a successful plan.  Even if you are not planning to repeat the event, an evaluation will help when planning other events. And it also helps to celebrate the good things that happened before and during the event.    

Do you need assistance with planning your special event(s)?  At Rhythm Communications we can help you plan and implement events of any size.  Contact us today and let us help you. You can contact us at 404-889-8966 or visit our website at www.rhythmcommunications.com.



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