No matter how much planning has gone into an event and regardless of its nature, you will inevitably experience a sense of sheer panic ahead of the date, fearing that no one will show up or something will go disastrously wrong and undo your hard work.
While there can be no guarantees that the day will run 100 per cent flawlessly, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you are prepared for all eventualities and can be certain the audience and delegates leave satisfied.
Start preparations as early as possible
It is often the case that the date and location of certain events are somewhat out of your control, with the availability of a certain venue or a keynote speaker perhaps influencing when and where it takes place. However, you should also look to ensure there are no other events happening at the same time that could limit attendance.
Furthermore, if you require catering, be sure to confirm exactly what will be provided by the venue well in advance. Ask for references and follow them up to ensure the caterer in question regularly produces top quality fare, as you do not want an attendee’s lasting memory of the event to be a lack of or poor quality food.
If you can, it is also a good idea to select your speakers as early as possible. If necessary, ask them to provide you with a sample of their content to ensure they will captivate and engage the audience.
When structuring the event, an industry expert highlights the importance of achieving a suitable pace to the day, culminating in a “finale”.
Neil Jones told the Institute of Internal Communications: “Events are arguably another form of theatre and thinking of your event as a theatrical performance will help you to develop interest and excitement.”
Get the message out
In the run up to the day of the event, it is essential to market the occasion suitably. This may be in the form of printed communications sent to potential or confirmed attendees, or you could choose to produce something a little bit more creative.
Branded USB memory sticks could be distributed containing the event details in the form of a PDF document. This will mean those attending the event have an up-to-date copy of the itinerary – complete with any attendance stipulations – and the USB can be reused afterwards.
Drawing inspiration from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, you may wish to use printed t-shirts to ensure representatives of your company are instantly recognisable. This will make it much easier for attendees to identify those who can be of assistance to them if they require it.
To ensure the event itself goes off without a hitch, Mr Jones suggests conducting a “walk-through”. This is where you look at the event through the eyes of an audience member or participant. Go over the plans and identify things that may go wrong and then make further contingency plans to deal with any eventualities.