As anyone who has ever hosted so much as even a dinner party knows, planning and organizing any kind of occasion can be a stressful situation. Marketing organizations and PR agencies are not exempt from such pressure and last minute difficulties.
After a recent (successful!) client event in New York, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 things you can do to ensure your next event is as seamless as possible—whether it’s on the large scale or small scale.
1. Do the Prep Work
Prior to the event being held, do the research. Have a spreadsheet of everything that is needed for the event. Know what you are going to bring with you and what you having shipped to the location. There is no need to try to do (and hold!) everything.
Know who is going to be there. Have a list of attendees who have RSVP’d. If necessary, send follow up emails and phone calls to see if there are any last minute attendees. It’s better to do a little hard work than to be unprepared for attendees who are planning on attending, and simply forgot to RSVP. Check and double check your list to make sure all special requests are accommodated (car service, etc.).
2. Know Your Location
It’s not a problem if you have not physically been to the event location prior to your arrival. It is important to know as much about the location as possible beforehand, though. Know how long a taxi ride from the airport or hotel will take so you can plan your arrival.
Speak to someone at the location, so you have a contact there. Let him/her know that articles will be mailed to the location, what time you will be there to set up and so forth. Make sure you have the room reserved with plenty of time for set-up and clean-up.
3. Have a Catch-All Bag
It has also been referred to as my “Mary Poppins” purse. It’s basically a large bag that can and does hold everything. Need a rubber band? Or perhaps sticky tack? It’s in the Mary Poppins bag. Sugar levels low? Snacks are always in the Mary Poppins bag.
You’re going to need paperwork, your laptop and camera for the event, so make sure those along with chargers are all in the Mary Poppins bag. It’s better to have too many things, than to be stranded at an unfamiliar location without something you need. And as always, it’s important to take as many photos of the event as well. Have backup batteries just in case.
4. Be Flexible
An event without a single issue is practically non-existent. Be flexible. If things are not going perfectly, it’s completely okay. This is prime time to show other that when faced with challenges, you can react under pressure and handle the situation with grace.
Chances are, if you become anxious and bothered by unforeseen circumstances at the event, the rest of your staff and even attendees will pick up on this, and it will ultimately make for an unpleasant situation.
Whether it is a client’s event or your company’s event, it is pertinent to represent the organization in the best of light. If it is a client event, be sure to prep your client and make sure he/she understands what the purpose of the event is and how to answer any press questions that may come up.
Extend a smile to everyone. All guests should be treated equally. Even if an important member of the press or other organization is on the attendee list, be sure to treat all guests equally—extending a warm smile and welcome greeting to everyone.
If the food is late, and you forgot your left shoe…smile. Things that are outside of your control cannot be directly managed. So try to make the best of the situation, and create the most enjoyable event environment for everyone.