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How to Organize an Event – the 20 Top Tips!

Find out how to organize an event. Organizing a successful event requires work. To help you off to a flying start, we here list the 20 top tips for how to organize your first event. Starting with a strategy paves the way for success. And if you play your cards right, you can deliver a top-class experience, even if it is your very first attempt.

1.) Identify the purpose with the event
Most importantly, start by asking yourself why you are holding the event. Summarize the prime goal of the activity. By identifying the goals early on, you can plan the event in a way that aligns with your strategic thrust. Thus, before you start planning an event, you must have a clearly formulated purpose. So that you can measure results and thus optimize the event right from the start, establish KPIs. And now you can start to organize the event.

2.) Coordinate your team
A good event requires input from many different people. Begin by deciding who is to be involved and what their roles are to be all the way through. This helps to streamline work and prepares you for questions when bringing more people in. Have someone in charge of communicating with the people heading up each area. In turn, these latter are to allocate tasks within their teams. This ensures that things move efficiently forward as the event approaches.

3.) Find a venue
The venue is immensely important. Thus, choose the D-day locale carefully. If you are arranging a business conference, check what hotels and conference facilities have to offer. If you are staging a crafts fair, look for open, industrial premises that are readily accessible via public transport. Book a date and establish the cost in good time. That way, you will know how much you need to charge for tickets.

4.) Set a date
Do not choose a date at random. Take target groups into account and ascertain that these people are generally able to attend. If you are holding a business conference, you should check for competing events and ensure that potential sponsors and participants will not be attending those. Also avoid public holidays when it is likely that people will be traveling. (Unless, of course, you are planning and marketing a music festival as the ideal way of spending a stay-at-home holiday).

5.) Book attractions
To ensure that the attractions bring people in, you should aim high while keeping within your budget! Consider which type of speakers or performers would best draw your public. If you are holding a business conference, who are the most attractive personalities available to address your target group? If you are arranging an event for parents, bear in mind their daily challenges and get hold of an expert who can tackle the chosen subject.

6.) Create the programme
Once you have booked the main speaker or performer, it is time to decide the shape of the programme. Of course, the best slots must be reserved for your attractions. However, outside those, you can have panel debates and other programme highlights. For overall management of the event, you need to put together a programme that keeps participants interested. Remember to leave room for breaks and pauses in which people can network, socialize and interact with each other.

7.) Bring sponsors on board
Decide how you want to work with sponsors. Should they sponsor a particular element in a conference programme or a mix and mingle over cocktails? Or will you be having a display floor where sponsors can pay to demonstrate their products and services? Consider what best suits your event and start wooing potential sponsors who can contribute to financing the overall show.

8.) Develop a marketing plan
Marketing is the key to getting people to visit your event. To maximize attendance, think multichannel. Draw up an email and send it to anyone in your network who may possibly be interested. Encourage them to pass it on to friends. Using the channels relevant for your event, launch a concerted campaign in social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter are excellent places for reaching various target groups. To keep track of the conversations, use a hashtag. Ensure also that the event’s stars push your event on their social media channels and use the relevant hashtags.

9.) Contact the press Line up journalists, bloggers and radio personalities who you think may be interested in your event. To encourage direct reporting from the event, send them entry passes. So that early media reporting can help to spread the news, you can also seek to ensure that speakers are available for advance interviews.

10.) Sell tickets Once you have put time and energy into finalizing the shape of your event, never forget to examine whether registering for and buying tickets is easy. On your website, use a smooth process that makes it easy to get tickets at any time. If you are going to sell tickets at the door, advertise this in advance as the event approaches. This will encourage any waverers to turn up.

11.) Use event ambassadors
Consider designating a team of event ambassadors assigned to specific areas stationed around your event. Equip your ambassadors with the answers to anticipated guest questions. Dress your event ambassadors in coordinated outfits with name badges that stand out in a crowd. At the entrance, event ambassadors welcome each guest with a smile and cordial greeting; they also point out key locations like the registration desk and washrooms. For small events, ambassadors facilitate introductions and ensure that the shy wallflowers have opportunities to shine too.

12.) Offer VIP parking or pickups for speakers and performers
Ensure that your speakers and performers receive the care they need to arrive at the event venue safely ahead of schedule to set up with time to spare, especially if they are arriving at the event venue from out of town. Ask if they require a pickup at the airport or a drive from across town. If they’re arriving in their own vehicle, rope off a VIP parking spot for them and ensure they can get to it easily. Designate someone to help them unload their equipment and get settled.

13.) Choose flowers and decorations
Create atmosphere and visual interest at your event venue with some well-chosen decorations—a few tasteful touches go a long way to livening up an otherwise mediocre location. A few well-placed vases of brightly coloured fresh flowers will transform a stuffy conference room or sterile hall into an inviting space.

14.) Prepare name tags
Help your participants meet, greet, and recognize one another by preparing clear, easy-to-read name tags. Also ensure that your own team of event planners and guest attendants wear their name tags clearly displayed. Lots of people have difficulty remembering other peoples’ names—don’t leave them hanging! Being able to address someone by name can break the ice and avoid the awkward game of ‘have we met before?’.

15.) Serve satisfying food and drinks
Consider the time of your event to gauge what kind and how much food to offer your participants. Will they arrive with full bellies from lunch or famished after a full day’s work? Also consider the facilities available to enable guests to comfortably eat the snacks, apps or treats on offer—will they end up sneaking in a few tidbits while standing in mid conversation, or will tables and chairs make sitting down to a full meal a piece of cake? Speaking of cake, will you offer multiple courses or just a few mixed selections? Based on your desired menu, contact and book caterers as soon as possible; scan online reviews, ask for references, and taste their offerings before making a final selection.

16.) Arrange comfortable groupings of seating and tables for drinks
Create a floorplan of the venue and use it to organize comfortable places for people to congregate in small groups. Place tables where people may set down a plate, drink or laptop. Ensure ample seating for elderly or physically challenged attendees. Note the natural flow between these areas and keep pathways to washrooms or exits open and clear of obstacles.

17.) Announce door prizes, raffles and draws
Everybody likes the chance to win a prize or take away a free gift! Create excitement at your event by announcing door prizes, raffles and other draws. Strategically time these announcements to engage attendees and keep them focused when they could otherwise lose interest. Saving the big prize for the end of your well-planned itinerary will encourage participants to stay through to the grand finale.

18.) Stock powder rooms with baskets of essentials and niceties
Particularly for longer and/or formal events, place baskets in washrooms with essential personal hygiene products, practical items sewing kits with spare buttons, and niceties like hand lotion that could make the stay more comfortable. People like to feel pampered and cared for and these items can save an attendee in a pinch. And you wouldn’t be the first event planner to need one of these handy items yourself midway through an event!

19.) Rent a photo booth or book a photographer
A photo booth adds an element of fun to a casual event and a photographer snapping photos makes any social event more glamorous and memorable. For smaller events, request your photographer to capture at least one photo of every individual present—no one wants to browse event photos afterward without seeing themselves represented in a single one.

20.) Prepare goodie bags with practical takeaways
Send your participants away happy with a token gift to remember you by. A goodie bag can include some neat swag plus practical items like a card with instructions for accessing event photos, presentation slides, and a survey for collecting feedback. Ensure to use this opportunity to incorporate your brand into the loot. A coupon to encourage participants to join you again soon won’t go amiss either.We wish you every success with organizing your event!

Time to Organize an Event? Get Started with Magnet.

Organize your event today – give our event planning tool a try and see how you like it. We’ve created a FAQ, with the most common questions about this service. If you got questions about our event management solution that are not included in the FAQ, please let us know. We behind the Magnet Event Platform are always trying to improve the user experience and functions within this platform.

How to create an event – overview

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Malin Croner, CEO, Dalarna Business
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Malin Croner, CEO
Dalarna Business
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Swedish Marketing Federation
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