Whether you are planning something as simple as a client meeting or an office holiday party, or something more substantial like a retirement ceremony or a corporate retreat, following a plan will be of enormous help to you.
We’ve organized the process into a checklist below, making it harder to forget any critical steps!
1# Set your scope and your budget
You need to know how much you are going to spend before you can move on to step 2, but you need to understand the scope of the event to do that. How many people will be there? What will they gain from being there? Will it be a casual event or a classy one?
Once you know that, you can make some accurate predictions about costs.
2# Book the location
If this is your own conference room or canteen, this could be a no-brainer. If you need something extensive, though, you might have to book a venue weeks or months in advance.
3# Plan your activities
This depends most on what type of event you are hosting. Will there be speeches, announcements, and awards? Will there be refreshments? Break-away sessions? Drinks afterwards? Planning all of this down to the last detail can prevent awkward moments when your guests don’t know what to do next.
4# Create a guest list
Again, this could be a trivial task or a week-long adventure, depending on the scope of the event. Will you be inviting people from outside your organization? Will they be allowed to bring ‘plus-ones’? Will you require them to RSVP, or will you plan for a few empty seats just in case?
Remember, though, that any plan that depends on the actions of others has to be fluid. Someone will inevitably be ill that day, or have car trouble. This could even be one of your critical guests or speakers, so have a few back-up options for your mission critical guests, and know when to cancel the whole thing if going forward would be pointless.
5# Print the invites
This is one of the most important steps. Even if this is a casual meeting, you need to send a memo. On the other hand, if this is a large formal event, the quality of your invitations will set the stage for the day, and give your attendees a lot of subconscious clues about how to dress and comport themselves. Make you’re your invitations send the right signals.
Note that is you are planning a formal event, you should include a rough program of the events you planned in step 3 with the invitation, even if it is only an inter-office email.
6# Follow up,check and double check
Remember how we said to keep plans fluid? This is where that pays off. Don’t just check steps 1-5 off once you’ve dealt with them. Go through the entire list at every stage, and make sure nothing important has changed. After all, it is better to redo everything the week before than the night before!