Event Management was always something I thought would be an interesting career, so I studied Tourism Management with Event Management as a subject. Only when I moved to Johannesburg and started a job as an events co-ordinator did I realise how much I would love it. The satisfaction of a successful event was addictive and pleasing the clients was the goal. I enjoyed getting to know people from all walks of life.
Fast forward a few years and my first role as a virtual assistant assisting my client with events. It was meant to be!
Events can be stressful. There is no doubt about it. The fear is real – no one wants to be responsible for ruining a brides wedding day or a company’s product launch.
Here are a few tips to help you plan and execute a successful event without loosing your hair or sleep.
1. Never say never
Never say it won’t happen. If it can happen, then it will. Murphy’s Law is widely practiced in the events world. There is a great unspoken respect for this. Always plan for the worst. If it doesn’t happen, then at least you were prepared for that possibility.
2. Attention to detail
This is a given. The best way to not miss a thing in planning for the event is to write EVERYTHING down, put it in writing and email it to your client so that they know you have remembered their requests. In some occasions, this can also cover your back, if anything goes wrong and you can’t prove you’re innocent, it could end up as a “he said she said” scenario and this is not where you want to be. Always have a notebook and pen handy no matter where you are, don’t always rely on your memory.
3. Talk, talk and talk some more
I cannot stress how important communication is. Never underestimate the role communication plays. As an event manager, you have a few role players involved in an event. The client, the caterers, the venue staff, the technical team, perhaps a florist, a DJ and a décor team. Keep everyone on the same page, and never make assumptions – hold weekly or even daily meetings with those involved. Create a shared document so that any updates can be seen at all times, leaving less room for error.
4. Have Fun
This may apply to many industries, depending on your definition of fun, but events take the cake. Event management is fun! If you have planned meticulously and feel confident in your work, the best you can do is have fun and enjoy what you have helped create. The smile of joy and success on a client’s face is priceless.
Despite Covid, the events world is very much alive and well. It hasn’t missed a beat and has almost immediately got back on its feet and channelled itself into a technical space. Some say virtual events are here to stay post Covid. It is easy to see why as there are a number of advantages:
- Huge budget cuts – no flights, accommodation, venue hire or catering costs to name a few
- Wider audience reach – attendees from all over the world are now able to log in online
- Economical for attendees – attendees can now include those not able to afford the costs of travelling
- Positive environmental impact– less people travelling means less carbon footprint
As with live events, there are always going to be challenges.
No matter how well prepared you and your technical team are, there are sometimes gremlins that could completely ruin an online event. Do your homework finding a reputable, experienced technical company. Arrange a dry run prior to the event so that any issues that may arise can be eliminated.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
It is also essential to ensure that the facilitator, all speakers, organizers and attendees are on the same page. Use an easy to use booking system such as Eventbrite. Attendees are able to register on this platform and will automatically receive reminders and log in details on the day of the event. If there are any queries these can be resolved prior to the event.
People enjoy networking and mingling at live events. The buzz at an event can be electric and give the audience a sense of excitement. This also provides an energy for speakers to feed off. It’s a huge challenge for the event facilitator as well as the speakers to create this kind of energy from the solitude of their home with very little interaction from the audience. Make sure you have an experienced facilitator who has enough energy and confidence to fill a virtual room.
There have been some very embarrassing videos of Zoom meetings doing the rounds on social media. To avoid this, Zoom has published their very own meeting etiquette guidelines. Have a look at the link below for some very useful tips. These should be shared with all attendees prior to the event.
The future of events
I personally feel that smaller, less social events can benefit by going and staying virtual, but there is no replacement for a live sporting event, a festival, a music concert, or a wedding where friends and family reunite from all over the world. If the coronavirus is here to stay, a few years down the line it will be common practice to hand sanitize and take precautionary measures and the event organisers will add coronavirus protection to the health and safety checklist.
But the show must and will go on!
Photo: Courtesy of Event Farm