Event planning – how hard can it be?

Has planning your next staff or client conference just been added to your never-ending ‘to-do’ list?  You have great organisational and people management skills, perhaps even a little creative flair, so what could go wrong?

More and more these days EAs and PAs are given planning responsibilities for the most important events their organisations hold each year.  Having a simple checklist is imperative to ensuring the event runs smoothly and should minimise the chances of things going off the rails.

Following is my list of the top five most important things to remember when planning your next event.

  1. Define the objectives of your event
    Involve all stakeholders and make sure everyone is clear on what the purpose of the event is from a business outcomes and/or behavioural change perspective. This will enable you to measure the success of the event and will ensure you have a compelling reason for people to attend.
  1. Know your audience
    Whether your event is internal or external, you should profile your delegates to understand why they would attend and what they want to get out of attending.  Defining your target audience is the key to increasing attendance numbers and ensuring you develop an engaging program.
  1. Consider all the logistics
    This is a big one I know!  There are many layers of checklists within this one point, but essentially make sure you have a plan and set deadlines around venue, catering, parking, accommodation, entertainment, speakers and audio visual/staging etc.
  1. Let people know about your event
    Don’t leave it to the last minute to invite your guests – give them time to plan to attend. If it is an external event, consider and plan multiple communications via different channels. An email invitation can easily get lost these days, so consider printed mail, social media or even phone calls.
  2. Set a budget – and stick to it!
    Draft a budget, including allowances for each element of the event, when you start planning. This will assist in making decisions quickly, and ensure you avoid any nasty surprises along the way.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning successful events.  Keeping up to date with the latest event trends across technology, venues, marketing, content and audience engagement can be difficult in such a dynamic industry.  As program director of the 2018 PCOA conference, it is my objective to bring together all of this information and share it with our delegates over two and a half days from December 9 to 11.

The program, not just for professional conference organisers, is developed for anyone who is involved in event planning. The best way to develop the ultimate ‘event planner to-do list’ for your next event would be to spend time sharing and learning from others, so pop the dates in your diary and keep your eye out for more details at pco.asn.au/conference

Join us for the 11th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 9 – 11 December 2018

Peta Moore – Program Director
PCOA18 conference

Maxine Tod
Director Business Partnerships
PCO Association
E: maxine@pco.asn.au
M: 0435 103 912

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