Across every industry, meeting and event coordinators are some of the hardest-working people out there. They’re expert planners and communicators, and, ultimately, they’re responsible for creating experiences that bring the client’s vision to life.
These are the top 10 event planning tips you never learned in school:
Tip #1: Become best friends with data
Every decision you make can and should be supported by data. That means you need to identify ways to quantify and learn from your efforts as a planner.
Start to experiment with measuring NPS and implementing surveys that go beyond opinions and anecdotes. Use quantifiable metrics to determine that the decisions you make are having a real effect.
Having good data is valuable beyond just giving you the ability to iterate and design better events each time. It empowers you to negotiate and push back when clients have ideas that you can prove never worked in the past.
Tip #2: Creativity is key
Communicator…check. Organizer…check. Artist…?
We put the time and effort into event design because experience matters. Stay creative by looking for inspiration outside of the events world.
Lean on your creative partners — like entertainers, furniture suppliers, and designers — who are responsible for the visual appeal of your event. Challenge them and be deliberate about every design detail.
Tip #3: Think like an anthropologist
If you manage events in cities across the country (or across the globe), you need to understand the culture and people in that location. Planning an event in LA? You better have a good grasp on the traffic situation. Consider the nature and demographic makeup of the city your event is in to avoid any serious oversights.
When choosing a destination, be conscious about the message it sends. Work with the CVB in the area to tie the culture of the community into the themes of your destination event.
There’s much more about choosing the right venue (efficiently!) in our new eBook.
Tip #4: Pics or it didn’t happen
How do you know you’ve designed a memorable event? One way is to find out if attendees are sharing photos or using your event hashtag on social media.
Design your event in a way that encourages interaction on social media. For example, create a pop-up photo booth, or paste the Instagram logo throughout the venue as a call-to-action. (Even more ideas here!)
When considering event design, remember that everything at your event is a backdrop for a photo. Think of the visual elements that would get you to stop and take a photo — and incorporate them into your event.
Tip #5: List it and love it
If you’re reading this, you probably love to think in terms of checklists, bullet points, and action items.
But that might not be the case for everyone involved in the planning process. When delegating tasks, ask your team to rephrase what’s being asked in the form of a list to ensure that absolutely nothing is being misunderstood.
Read More: The Printable Event Planning Checklist
Tip #6: Find properties you trust & grow your network
The main reason planners spend so much time on site visits is that they don’t always have venues or contacts they trust in a given city. You could continue spending your time vetting meeting spaces with your own eyes, but you’d be better served exploring new human connections, that already have the answers you’re looking for.
In this industry, connections are everything, so don’t shy away from asking for introductions.
Tip #7: Be proactive: Ask and you shall receive
It’s time for a bit of a role reversal. You’re accustomed to fulfilling as many requests from clients as possible. But, be sure that you’re also asking your partners to go the extra mile for you.
For example, ask your A/V providers to join the decision-making process. Ask your partners to join you at site visits; they might catch the details you’d typically overlook.
Tip #8: If you rest, you rust
Invest in your learning. You spend all of your time bringing people together to celebrate, make connections or to educate themselves. What are you doing about improving the quality of your events?
Remember that learning happens outside of your comfort zone. Don’t just fall back on what’s worked in the past. Volunteer your time with an industry organization. Or sign up for events and tradeshows that you’ve always dreamed of attending.
Tip #9: Make events green again
It’s time for us all to do our parts and look for opportunities to lessen our carbon footprints. Ask about green event programs or sustainable alternatives available at the venues you’re working with. This can be a huge selling point for your event. Promote that fact that you’ve designed an event experience with sustainability in mind.
Tip #10: Be a hero, save the day — and do it over again
There’s no way to teach this, but through experience, the best modern planners will become better at thinking on their feet. Why does it always feel like the one thing you didn’t have a backup plan for, is the only thing that goes awry?
Hero planners can turn major disasters into little victories. To mitigate the risk, find an accountability partner to serve as a check and balance – someone who can act as a second pair of eyes on your meeting plans.
It’s not always easy, but it’s not impossible. The most exciting part of the job is the unknown. With all the effort we put into coordinating a perfect event, there’s always the possibility for something to go awry. That’s where modern meeting planners can step to save the day.
The event coordinator tips you read today are much easier with collaborative tools and technology, not only to save time but also to develop the best event experiences by working as a group.
After all, it’s what they do best; they bring people together to achieve great things. Don’t forget to take these tips (and more) on the go in our free downloadable.
Need more event planning tips?
Start early, focus on the details, delegate responsibility, have a backup plan for your backup plan, and always focus on the attendee.
Strong organizational skills, a vast and engaged network, the skills to constantly grow that network, creativity, customer focus, and resilience.
– Establish a goal for your event
– Bring your team together
– Plan the details (when, where, who)
– Determine the day-of logistics