How to Plan a Successful Event: Building an Event Planning Template

Event planning isn’t an easy feat by any means; event planning is both an art and a science. For instance, when you attend events, what do you think about your experience as an attendee? What did you like? What do you wish had been different? Do you think, “When I host my event, I’m going to follow these steps,” or “I would never do so and so at my event”? For all those “I would never…” thoughts, it’s likely that the host never thought they would either. The question is: how can you plan an event and execute the same in a seamless, satisfactory manner?

How to plan an event like a pro: 4 essential components

Planning a successful event requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some steps to help you plan a successful event.

Four essential components of a helpful event planning template are: 

Skillful event planning is critical in order to produce a polished and well organized event.  Taking the time to properly plan allows you to think about how you want your event to run, how you want it to look and what type of experience you want it to be.  Imagine a well-laid out plan as a roadmap for the event or a recipe for the perfect event.  You are able to see the overall picture and at the same time plan for the small details that, when they come together, make up the final production.  Having a detailed well thought out plan, leads to confidence and reduced stress knowing that everything is accounted for.

  1. Having a support team
  2. Figure out the logistics
  3. Funding
  4. Marketing

1. Have a support team

Whether you’re just starting, have limited funds, or just simply think that you’re capable of doing it all, avoid the temptation of wanting to do it all yourself. When you do, things can, and most likely will, come back to bite you. Imagine a Jenga game. When the wrong thing happens, the whole thing collapses and comes tumbling down.  Likewise, attempting to do all the event planning yourself can lead to disaster and burnout.

Burnout leads to an increased likelihood of mistakes and shortcuts being taken when they should not be. There are so many details that have to be addressed when planning a top-notch event that it is impossible to simultaneously give everything 100% effort.

Utilize the team of people who are there to support you. It is important that you have people who have a vested interest in the event. If they care, they will not only enjoy the process but also take pride in their contribution and give so much. Your vibe is your tribe. Make sure that everyone has a role they are qualified to handle and knows what is expected of them. Communication within your planning team is essential. Make sure that each person knows that following up on details is imperative from the very beginning of planning until the very end. The planning isn’t over until the event is over and done.

2. Figure out the logistics

Once you decide to have an event, the sooner you know what type of event you’re going to have, when it will take place, and where it will be hosted, the better. I have always said that once you have a location and date, you have an event. So, let the fun begin.

Did you know that when and where you have your event each play significant roles in determining its success? It is very important to do your research before you finalize your event. For example, you want to make sure there are no other big events at the same time, such as holidays or peak vacation travel times such as the summer. Taking these factors into consideration will enable you to increase your chances of attracting your target audience. And don’t forget, the “when” also includes time-zone differences, especially if you’re hosting a virtual event.

3. Funding

To plan a quality, successful, organized, and professional event, you need to make sure that you have adequate funding. Start by making a budget and figuring out how much money you will need in order to plan events with the desired objective. Once you know the total amount of money required, figure out how much you will need to charge for entrance and then determine your break-even point. For example, if your total expenses are $1000 and you are selling tickets for $25, you will need to sell 40 tickets to cover your expenses. All revenue above the break-even point is profit.

Some typical expenses to consider are:

  • Venue rental
  • Insurance
  • Food and drink
  • Decorations
  • Marketing
  • Paid staff
  • Paid speakers and associated expenses such as travel, lodging, etc.

It doesn’t take long for event costs to start adding up. So, determining your budget early on will help you avoid unwanted situations like running out of money for decorations, supplies, and food. Recognize, however, that things change and that the budget is likely to change as well. Stay on top of it and make sure that you keep your records up-to-date so that you are aware. You never want to exceed your budget when you plan events!

4. Marketing

When promoting an event, there are three major groups to consider:

  1. The group of people that are a part of the event
  2. The group working with you to organize the event
  3. The people you have attending the event

Marketing is essential in order to plan an event and execute it skillfully. While saving the date is important, and while invitations and reminder emails and notifications may suffice for private events, public events require much more in order to maximize the potential success of the event.

Consider the following marketing platforms when planning your campaigns:

  • Social media
  • Email blasts
  • Flyers
  • Print ads
  • Radio and TV media coverage

Also consider corporate and community partnerships and sponsorships. You can leverage these professional relationships to help get the word out.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start promoting. The sooner the better. You need to make sure that you have enough time to reach the number of people needed to keep the number of sales you need on track.

Some key milestones in marketing include:

  • Save the date
  • Early bird pricing
  • Keynote speaker announcement
  • Special event topic announcement
  • Registration closing
  • Attendee reminders

Venue consideration for seamless event planning

Consider the following factors when you plan events:

  • Can the facility accommodate the number of people you hope to attract to your event?
  • Does the venue offer an environment that is conducive to the type of event you want to have?
  • What is the ambience? Is it warm and inviting?
  • If the venue you are considering is a hotel, do they have availability for event attendees to stay on site? What is the price point? While you definitely want a quality location, you also want to select a place that is within the realistic budgets of your target attendees. Bearing in mind will increase the likelihood of people attending.

Takeaway: successful event planning

In closing, I’d like to point out the importance of reflecting and having a “lessons learned” session with your event team. Take the opportunity to go over what went well, what could be improved, and what could or should be eliminated. Be prompt while it’s fresh and people’s thoughts and perspectives are fresh.

Ensure that all vendors, speakers, and attendees are aware of the logistics of the event, including location, timing, and parking. Send thank-you notes to the vendors and people who came, get feedback, and figure out how well the event went.

By following these steps, you can plan events in a well-planned, well-executed, and successful manner.

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