Tips for Planning an Event

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A combination of ‘making it up as you go’ and ‘careful planning’ has been proven time and time again to be the best strategy in event planning. The truth is, even the best laid out plans have a way of falling apart this makes adapting to the conditions very important. If you don’t adapt you won’t make it.

Top Tips for planning an event

The first thing is to start with a goal and objective, this will give you something to work towards. You will have to know who you want to attend, where you want to hold the event and why the event is relevant.

Events are not hosted just for the sake of it, you must have a reason to ask people to come if you don’t, then it’s just a waste of time. In 2010 a group of dedicated athletes created an event to raise awareness for sledge hockey.

how-to-plan-an-eventEstablish accountability and communicate

You own the event; you know what you want to get at the end of the event. This means that you are accountable for anything that will happen before, during and after the event. So treat every aspect of the event with the necessary care and competence required.

Communication is a critical aspect of any event; this makes it very important to ensure that there is communication between all moving parts that are involved in the planning and coordination. Make sure that all departments such as marketing, the ticketing and the coordinators are all on the same page. Ensure that everyone knows what is to be done when and why.

Plan for everything and set contingencies

One mistake must people make is assuming that things will go as expected, but most times the opposite is usually what happens. So ensure that you have a plan for unexpected events such as bad weather, for example let’s assume that you are planning an outdoor event, what happens when rains suddenly starts falling or when the temperatures go beyond tolerable temperatures?

You should also plan your timing very carefully, this will ensure that you won’t have to rush through important things, and remember most people have a habit of always coming in late, this means that your timing must factor in any possible scenarios.

A marketing plan is also very important here, this will show all players how you intend to reach your guests at the event. How you do it is dependent on who you want to reach, if it is an in-house event you can just directly invite everyone, but if it an outhouse event you can use traditional methods of advertising such as the media.

You should also brand your event by creating a tagline, coming up with a cool name and designing a logo for it. This will make the event stand out from the rest.

The other things that you should plan for are

  • Food
  • Parking
  • Speakers
  • Facilities

Create a budget

The budget will depend with the type of event you are hosting; if you don’t budget you should know that you are creating a formula for failure. The budget should cater for all expenses that you might incur from facilities to speakers, you should also ensure that you have extra for contingency measures.

But don’t just look at how you intend to spend the money, you should also look at where you are getting the money, do you have a sponsor or partner? The idea is to know exactly how much you are working with.

Online Event Management Courses

online-event-management

Not all of us enjoy the luxury of having the whole day to study, it maybe work, you may be too busy or you may even be taking other classes. Online courses are courses that are done via the internet, this makes it possible for a person to do a course in one country and live in another.

Studying online offers flexibility, easy access, variety, support and as an added bonus you never even have to enter a class room.

Some of the best schools to learn event management online are

  1. Grand valley state university in Allandale Michigan
  2. Champlain college in Burlington, Vermont
  3. Art institute of Vancouver
  4. Robertson college
  5. CDI college
  6. Vancouver Career College.

Event management

Event management is a course made up of a bit of marketing, public relations and management. The good thing about studying event management is the networking. Event management will teach you how to network and create future opportunities with contacts; this can help you achieve your goals if done in the right way.

As an event manager you will be able to take up diverse roles such as marketing, creative design, management and even directors.

You have the option of taking events management on its own or combining it with public relations or marketing.

Public relations and event management

Public relations is a course that teaches you how to maintain a favorable public image, it maybe for a company or person. Simply put PR teaches you how to relate to the public, this is very important in event management. Some of the best institutions to study public relations online are:

  1. Kent university
  2. Ashford university
  3. Southern new Hampshire university
  4. Full sail university
  5. Walden university

When you study public relations you will learn important skills such as how to build relationships, writing, speaking and research.

Marketing and event management

It is important to understand that a bit of marketing and public relations will be included in your events management course, this means that you won’t have to take them separately, must you can if you want to.

Marketing and event management is a combination of the two courses, the two can be done separately but some institutions offer this course combined.

Why should you study online?

The normal way of studying is attending classes, but the problem with this option is the fact that it prevents you from pursuing other interests, studies will continue with or without you, and you have no control of class schedules.

But if you take an online course, you will be dealing with a teacher on a one to one basis over the internet, this means that you will be able to communicate easily with the teacher, have more time to engage in other activities and work without distractions.

Online courses are also cheaper and allow you to organize your own time, so you won’t have to worry about having a class at 7 in the morning.

Choosing to study event management is a great career option suitable for people who have people skills, if you are already employed or just need to add this to your resume, you should consider studying online.

 

How to Hire the Right Event Manager

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Running a successful event is dependent one very important factor, having the right person for the right job; In this case we are talking about event planners. Event planners or managers are people who coordinate all aspects of an event or meeting, their work is to ensure that all things run smoothly.

The biggest advantage of hiring an event planner is to save time and money. Professional event planners also have the experience, connections and knowledge to handle all aspects of an event.

Why do you need an event planner?

It may sound theoretically cheaper to manage your own event but it’s not, one thing you need to know about events is that they require resources such as facilities, food, transport and accommodation, if you add all these up you can end up spending a lot of money.

But if you hire a professional event planner, he or she will bring his or her connections; this means that the event planner is at a better position to get more discounts than you.

To save time

If you are hosting an event then you obviously have a lot on your plate, when you hire an event planner, he or she will only have one goal in mind (to ensure that the event is a success). What this will do is reduce the workload, so you won’t have much to worry about.

Remember the event planner has all the time to ensure that the event is a success and you don’t. On top of the time, the planner also has knowledge and experience to conduct an event. Sledgefest found their current team leader on About.me. You can also use websites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Experience and expertise

Event planners are professionals; this means that they know how to handle risks associated with events. For example, an event planner knows what to do when the unexpected happens. But if you decide to manage your own event, when risks occur and you don’t know how to handle them, you may end up facing lawsuits or other legal problems.

Knowing how to reduce, handle or avoid risks is very important in event management, if you can’t do it properly then bad things are bound to happen.

Why you should outsource an event planner

If you have employees, appointing one to manage an event may not be the best option. The reason for this is simple; an employee is there for a particular job. If you add more work on top of what he or she is already doing, then the result may not be as good as you want it to be.

Note that managing an event is not easy; if you put the wrong person on the job then things will go very wrong.

The right venue

Finding the right venue for an event is very important; if you don’t have an event planner getting connections may not be easy.

A professional event planner will use his or her connections and knowledge to find you the most suitable venue for your event, and on top of that their connections can help you get discounts on venues.

Room to breath

Planning an event is not as easy as it sounds, it will cost you sleepless nights and a lot of time. When you hire a professional to do it for you, you will have room to breathe knowing that everything is being handled.

How to use hash tags effectively to promote an event

hashtag

To most people hash tags are things that teenagers and people in their twenties use on social media, but if you are running a business or hosting an event, it is always wise to keep up with the current trends. Unlike in the past where people got information from television or radio, today everything ‘cool’ is on social media.

So how can you use hash tags to promote your upcoming event?

Know what a #hashtag is

The simplest way to define a hashtag is a phrase or word that is preceded by a hash mark (#). The point of using a hashtag is to identify topics or keywords and facilitate a search.

Hash tags are very popular on twitter but can be used on other popular social media pages such as Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest. Promoting an event on social media is one of the best ways to arouse curiosity, and if used properly you will attract a lot of attendance and support.

How to advertise with a hashtag

It is important to understand that, you can’t force things. This means that forcing to advertise your event with an existing hashtag may not always work under all circumstances; it is possible to ride on an existing hashtag but not highly recommended. How you use an existing hashtag is very important.

When you are looking for a hashtag you should first ensure that the tag is not already in use, to do this you can use tools such as:

  • Hashtagify me
  • Rite tag
  • Tweet binder
  • Tweet reach

The hashtag you use should be targeted at your audience; i.e. should be something that the audience can search for. For example if it’s a hip hop event then it makes more sense to include a hashtag like #hiphop along with another in the phrase that you decide to use. The point is to make sure that you remain relevant. The organizers of an annual sledge hockey event have successfully used hashtags to promote their event for over 5 years.

Remember if you get it right then your hashtag will trend and your promotion will work.

Keep it short

When you chose a hashtag you should keep it short and understandable, don’t just come up with things that only you understand.

You should also not misuse a hashtag, if you use more than two hash tags in a phrase, then your chances of attracting an audience drops, especially on sites such as Facebook.

Make it customizable

Remember you want people to reuse the hashtag; this makes it important to create a hash tag that your audience can have a personal experience with. Generally, you have to give them a reason to use it; if they don’t then you will have a very hard time promoting your event.

Test the hashtag

The point of testing your chosen hashtag for an event is to prevent it from being overtaken by other users using the same hashtag for an unrelated cause , if you chose a hashtag that’s already out there and is being used for an unrelated negative cause it can negatively impact your event.

You can also keep track of your Hashtag to see how it is being used using tools such as Hashtagify.

So You Want To Hire An Event Photographer?

event-photographer

Important events such as weddings, family events or your kid’s birthday party, don’t happen too often. This makes it important to capture those moments and keep a record for the future. Sure you can take out your Smartphone or camera and snap away, but the results may not be what you expected.

That’s where professional photographers come in; the work of a professional photographer is to create permanent visual images or pictures for technical, creative and documentary purposes. Simply put you hire a professional photographer to take images of your wedding, family events or any other special event in your life, a good example is your baby’s photographs.

Event specialists

It doesn’t make sense to hire a wildlife photographer to cover your wedding, you need a person who is specialized in the particular event you are having. If it’s a wedding then you should find a photographer specialized in taking wedding photos. If it is a meeting, hire a photographer who is specialized in taking photos of meetings, i.e. hire the right tool for the right job.

Where do you get an event specialist? You start with recommendations from multiple sources such as family, friends, co workers and the internet. Once you have a list you should narrow it down based on competence, reliability and experience.

Communicate

When you hire a photographer, it’s not a matter of ‘you are hired, now take photos’. It requires effective communication; on your part you must show that photographer your expectations and goals.

The point is to ensure that you are on the same page, so ask questions, give recommendations and listen to the person you intend to hire. A good sign is a photographer who also asks questions, this will allow you to correct him or her on something they got wrong. Remember if you don’t communicate then the results won’t be satisfactory.

The budget

Before you hire someone it is important to ensure that you can afford them, don’t hire a photographer that’s out of budget. The photographer should also be worth the amount you are paying, you need value for money, so don’t overpay and don’t underpay.

The problem with underpaying is that, the photographer won’t have enough motivation to do the best work possible; he or she will just take photos for the sake of it.

Ensure you know exactly how much you have to pay at the end of the day.

Discuss copyright

It is important for the photographer to know what he or she can and cannot do with your photographs, if you don’t set boundaries then a lot of bad things can happen, some can reproduce the photos without you knowledge while others can sell or upload your photos without your knowledge.

This is why you should always hire a professional reputable photographer, remember bad things have happened to people who hired unprofessional photographers, so be very careful with who you hire.

If you find a licensed photographer then that would be perfect.

Event Planning Checklist

checklist

A checklist is a guideline that is used to help get the job done; if you are planning an event creating a checklist will ensure that you leave nothing to chance, you will know what to do, when to do it and why it’s important.

As an event planner you will have to juggle a lot of things, a checklist will ensure that you don’t miss anything.

What should be on your checklist?

The first thing on your agenda should be to allocate time to different tasks, if you have to pick up something, do something or order something. You should specify the time you’ll do it. For example, if you have to pick conference devices such as projectors, you should specify like June 30th 9 am “pick up projector”

Based on time you should order your activities in a way that you can easily understand. For example, you can start the checklist from three months ahead as the example shown below:

3 months before

  • Hold a planning meeting to determine goals/objectives
  • Create a guest list
  • Choose date
  • Set budget
  • Etc

2 months ahead

  • Print and mail invitations
  • Hire photographer
  • Book a speaker
  • Draft agenda
  • Etc

1 month ahead

  • Finalize menu
  • Prepare gifts
  • Prepare registration packets, name tags and onsite materials
  • Prepare payments
  • etc

Day of the event

  • Arrive early
  • Lead briefing sessions
  • Assist in arrangements
  • etc

After the event

  • Write thank you notes
  • Account
  • etc

The above is just a basic format of how an event checklist should look like; the point is to ensure that you capture all activities that you have to do before, during and after the event, this will ensure that everything runs as it’s supposed to.

Things to consider

Goals and objectives: the first thing is to ensure that you have clear set goals and objectives, i.e. you know exactly how you want the event to go.

Time: everything should be allocated its fare share of time, if not then you will run into problems.

Plan: you must have a plan; you should know who is supposed to do what and why. Once a particular job is complete you check it off the list. Remember you should also include delegated work not just your own.

Safety and health: if you are holding large meeting or event, then you should know that there is always the chance of something bad happening; this makes it very important to ensure that you have people on standby to provide first aid and safety.

Legal permission: some events require you to seek permission and licenses, if you don’t include this in your checklist and fail to acquire these important documents; the authorities will shut you down.

Transport: if you are going to provide transport, ensure that you include all details in your checklist, this will help you keep track of things and people won’t fail to make it because you simply forgot to arrange transport on time.

The Best Event Planning Blogs

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Events management is a field that changes on a day to day basis; this makes it very important to always keep up with the trends. Today keeping up with what’s in and what out can be difficult, but if you know where to look, you will be able to sit comfortably and adapt to new trends and ideas in event management.

The number of blogs currently on the internet is over 150,000,000; putting a precise number on it is difficult because blogs come up almost every minute. If you re an event manager some of the best blogs that you must follow are

Event manager blog

This is a blog that will give you new ideas and tips on how to handle your events, the blog also aims to teach you how to use social media to promote or create hype for upcoming events.

One other great feature is that the blog keeps you up to date with the latest reviews and news of the coolest trends in event management. This is a highly recommended blog that you should be on.

Techsytalk

This is an event management blog that’s all about technology; the blog also offers planning tips and the latest tech news in the field of events management. If you need technology for your event then this is the best place to get references.

Helloendless

Helloendless is a blog that will tell you what’s trending, give you practical tricks and tips that you can use in meetings and events. The blog will show you how to plan parties, events and wedding, the blog may not be as good as the event manager blog but still earns its place as one of the best.

Tech talk blog

This is a blog all about meetings; the blog also has tech news and ideas that you can use to plan and conduct meetings or events. This is a website that deserves your attention, if you are in events management.

Velvet chainsaw

Velvet chainsaw is the place to get the latest ideas on events management, the blog is updated daily so you will always be ahead with this blog.

Interactive meeting technology

This is a blog that’s full of tutorials on how to use the latest event technologies; the blog gives you tricks, tips and reviews of the current technology that you can use in events.

Special events

This is one of the most popular events management blogs out there, the blog covers everything from catering to décor and many more important topics. If you are into events such as weddings, you should be getting your daily dose of updates here.

Smart meetings

This is a blog that you can use to find anything you may need for an event; the blog can help you get a venue or a speaker. You can also use the site to get useful tips ideas and the latest news from the world of events management

Preston bailey

This is a blog about parties’ weddings designs and many other things that an event planner needs.

Start Your Own Event Management Business

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Before you start an event management business, you need three things, people skills, experience and an ability to multitask. If you don’t have these basic skills, then there is a high chance of failure. The people skills will help you get the best deals and multitasking will help you achieve your goals.

Experience

The experience you get is not just for your resume, you need it to start a profitable business. Just picture this, you are starting a new business but you have no idea how to get customers and how to run your own business, you will be in a tough spot.

You can get experience by volunteering or interning in an event management firm, once you have the experience, the next thing is to understand the event planning market.

The market

Before you start a business it is important to do a little market research, you will have to find out if anyone needs your services. If you start a business that no one needs, you will end up losing your investment.

In event planning, you have two markets, the social, market and the corporate market. The social market is made up of weddings, birthdays and similar events. On the other hand, the corporate market is made up charities, nonprofit organization and companies.

Knowing who you want to cater to will help you in your marketing efforts and how you build your new business. Once you know who you are targeting, you should build a marketing plan around them.

What you need to start an event planning business

Just like all other businesses, you need funding. Where you get funding is actually dependent on you. The other thing is the legal requirements.

All businesses are required to register and obtain licenses, but don’t just stop at that, you should also get yourself certified. This will show your commitment to the cause and give you professional credibility, remember anyone can register a business, but if you go the extra mile you will enhance your chances of getting more customers. You will also need to know a thing or two about marketing. Online courses are also available and highly recommended. This blog is an example of how you can raise awareness for your event.

Funding

The funding is there to help you cover overhead costs, when you start a business you need enough cash to run it before the business starts earning. The funding should be used for rent (if you are renting) utilities and salaries for employees if you have any.

A network

As an event planner you need a network of clients and service providers, so don’t just sit back and wait for customers, build partnerships and network. A good network will get you recommendations and you will get customers. Remember event planning is not a one man act you need a strong reliable long term network.

Insurance and taxes

When you start a company it is important to take out insurance policies you need, insurance can get you out of tight spots, that why it’s important. You should also ensure that your business is tax compliant to avoid problems with the taxman.

Work from home

An event management business is so flexible that you can start one from home, starting the business from home will save you cash and can allow you to grow your business.

What you need is a marketing plan, a website and a lot of discipline and dedication.

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Event

facebook

Facebook is a social media page that has more than 1.44 billion users; this makes it one of the biggest social media website in the world. What makes Facebook special is the fact that it’s so easy to use.

If you are hosting an event, a good option is to use traditional expensive media such as TV or radio, but a cheaper better option is to use Facebook and other similar social media pages on the internet.

How to advertise an event on Facebook

On Facebook the first thing you must do is create a page/fan page for your event, the page must be discoverable, connected, timely and insightful.

The name of your page must represent your event; it must show where the event will be, why you are hosting the event and how the users will benefit from the event. Don’t forget to upload a profile photo for your page, people like photos, this means that if you upload a picture/logo as the profile picture you will get more attention.

You shouldn’t upload a random photo ensure that it’s relevant to the event. Once you have a page the next step is to advertise your event through the page. You can do this in two ways, one you can take the long road and try to get as many ‘friends as possible’ or two you can use create an ad, note that not all ads on Facebook are free so, ensure you read the instructions carefully.

Targeted Facebook ads

The best way to advertise an event on Facebook is through targeted ads, when using targeted ads the first thing on your agenda should be to capture your audience. Remember the faster you get people talking the better the chances of attracting more people.

Create an event

After creating an event or fan page, you should create a Facebook event; this will allow you to send your audience updates about your upcoming event.

Attract an audience

Once you start getting ‘likes’ you will have to ensure that your audience doesn’t lose interest in your event. To ensure this you will have to share your event, call users to action and build an image for the event.

You can also advertise your event by turning it into a page post ad by exporting the event, to do this you will have to use the “export event” option on Facebook.

Use share buttons

If you have created a website for the event (very important to have a website for the event) you should include a share button on the sign up page, the button should be visible to all users. The point of using a share button is to allow users to advertise for you.

The comments

To build hype for an event, you will have to engage your audience in the comments sections, the more people talk about something the more interest they build. You can also use the Facebook messages plug-in on your website; this will show that people are talking about the event.

Use fan pages

Social media is all about sharing, so once you have a page you should ask your audience to invite their friends. You can also build relationships with popular pages and have them advertise your event for you.

If you find a page that has hundreds or thousands of fans you should work with them to advertise your event on their timeline.

How to Become an Event Planner

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An event planner is simply a person who coordinates all aspects of an event or meeting; the tasks of an event planner are choosing a meeting location, arranging necessary transportation to the area and coordinating all other aspects.

The first step in becoming an event planner is education; you simply need the proper qualifications. But remember event planners are not just defined by their education; they are also defined by their skills and experience.

The best event planners have excellent people skills and confidence, for one reason, this is a job that requires you to talk to a lot of people, and if you can’t create professional relationships and maintain them then you may be in the wrong career.

Get educated

Event planning is not as easy as one phone call or two; it will require you to do a lot multitasking. To start your career as an event planner, you will need a degree in public relations, marketing, hospitality or any other degree that is that category. You can also get a diploma, but most hirers prefer candidates with a degree.

Build your experience

Getting a job straight out of college or university can be a difficult task, if you check most job postings; you will find that hirers prefer people who have 2-3 years of experience, and you don’t, what do you do?

The first option is to intern, even if you are not required to intern by your school, you should take the initiative and join an internship program. An internship will build experience and the experience will get you hired. You can also volunteer or become someone’s apprentice, the idea here is to learn and build experience.

If you learn from a reputable planner then you will have a better chance of securing employment

Get certified

There are certification exams such as CMP (certified meeting profession) that can put you in a better position to secure employment. Getting these certificates is not mandatory but they will improve your chances of getting employment or funding for your new startup.

Network

You have the experience and you have the education, but this doesn’t mean that you will automatically find a job. One way of getting a job is by simply applying to the dozens of jobs posted online, but this method doesn’t work most of the time. Remember you are competing with millions of other job seekers.

Today the best way to get a job especially in event planning is through networking, this can be evidenced by the success of websites such as LinkedIn that have made looking for a job easier, all you have to do is network and know the right people.

To start networking, you should join a professional organization in your field; this will allow you to interact with professionals in your field of study, create relationships and get a job.

Self employment

Looking for a job is not an easy task, but if you have the experience and the know how on how to do something such as event planning, you can start your own business. Today you don’t need a big corporate building and tones of cash to become an entrepreneur, all you need is planning and funding. You can chose crowd funding, government funding or any other type of funding you can get. You will also need to setup a website. This can be done using an online DIY website builder like Weebly. See an example here.

Becoming your own boss is one of life’s greatest treasures, so don’t be afraid to try it. Event management just requires you to be good at it, if you are then you will get very far ahead of the rest.