Tips to streamline the event planning process | Carmen Bold

Tips to streamline the event planning process

Did you realise you are an Event Coordinator?

Webinars, masterclasses, seminars, panel sessions, meetups, social outings and meetings, these are all events. There’s a good chance you  take part in organising one or more of these types of gatherings and without realising it, you are an event coordinator. 

Gathering people together, online or in real life, requires planning and coordination. Do you have a system in place to take the friction out of event planning? I have laid out some tips below to help you with the process, so you feel in control and you’re not frantically sending forgotten Zoom links three minutes before an event!

Start with a plan

As early into the planning process as possible, sit down with the event host (whoever you are planning the event on behalf of) to nut out the big details. 

You don’t need the nitty gritty right now (although great if you can get it), you want to get a handle on things like:  

  • Where is the event taking place? Is it in person or online? Do you need to book a meeting room or venue?
  • When/where is it taking place? Do you need to coordinate calendars? Has the timing been considered so that most or all attendees will be available? (School holidays, or days surrounding public holidays can be troublesome to get people together)
  • Who is attending? Internal staff? External? Will there be travel arrangements?
  • Are there any other stakeholders to liaise with? Will there be external presenters you need to arrange?
  • What are the key logistic details? What is the duration of the event? How many people are expected? Do you need to arrange catering? 

Consider your communications

One of the most overlooked areas of planning an event is the communication plan. Getting required information to your attendees and presenters, when they need it without overwhelming them, requires forethought. 

Really think about what you need to know to keep your communications streamlined. Some considerations might include:

  • When will you send the event invite? A save the date or calendar placeholder might be necessary until details are firmed up.
  • For real life events, consider: Do you need to know dietary or accessibility requirements? Do attendees need directions/parking information for venue? 
  • For online events, consider: When will the event link be sent? (I recommend a reminder link be sent an hour or two before the event). Are there any software requirements attendees need to know about? 
  • Is there any pre-reading or preparation involved? If so, when will materials be sent to attendees?
  • Is there any post-event information to be sent? Do you need to distribute an event survey or handouts? 

Develop a timeline and checklist

Planning key event milestones (a fancy way of saying when things need to be done by) will help keep you on track and ensure important details don’t get missed. If there are other people or departments involved in the planning make sure you also identify WHO will be taking care of each task.

Every event is different, but some common event milestones include:

  • Booking a venue/meeting room/creating the online meeting. This is particularly important for a real life event where a venue or meeting room is required.
  • Presenters confirmed. Make sure any presenters/speakers have accepted a calendar invite.
  • When will the invite be sent, or event registrations open?
  • RSVP cut off date. When do you need to know who is attending the event?
  • Event marketing details. Does the event need to be publicised in a newsletter, journal, company website etc?
  • Event materials received and distributed. When do you need to receive papers/agendas/handouts and when will you distribute these to attendees?
  • Include any communications you have identified in your comms plan.

Organising events, big or small, online or in person, can be a rewarding experience, it doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. Use these tips to help develop checklists and timelines and have fun with the event planning process!

Carmen Bold is the founder of Gather Events and a freelance Event Manager and Consultant. You can see more and connect with Carmen here and check out Gather Events here for more tips, tricks and advice on event management.