These tips are equally relevant whether you are hosting concerts, events or conferences; the challenges you’ll face are universal!
A good solid structure is the key to a successful event. As an organiser, it can be difficult to anticipate all potential pitfalls. This requires training and lots of experience, so let us impart some of our experience to you as we share our 5 tips for running successful events, including some of those nasty pitfalls to watch out for.
Start planning the work out early on. As an organiser, you probably have to deal with both participants and suppliers. Communication and back and forth with external actors can quickly become a far more time-consuming process than it seemed at first glance. It is therefore important to get the jump on these processes. It is frustrating to be three weeks before the event without a venue, because you discovered late that your event will demand more than what the original venue could offer. So, again, it’s a good idea to start choosing suppliers and partners for the event as early as possible.
As an organiser, it is expected that you have control over the big picture, however, you are not expected to know everything. During planning, you may find yourself in a situation where you lack sufficient knowledge on a subject to make an important decision. Don’t be afraid to seek help from and involve suppliers with the knowledge you require. Have you got a technical requirement that you are unsure of? Talk to the supplier of your technical equipment who can set you up with what you need or point you in the right direction! Have you been notified of food allergies for a dinner event? Talk to those responsible for catering! This may sound banal, but assumptions can quickly turn out to be wrong. Assuming too much is one of the most common mistakes an organiser makes, and can potentially create major problems. There is a lot of truth in the saying “Assumptions are the mother of all screw ups”.
Ensuring that all parties involved have the information they need at all times can be a difficult task. Traditionally you would probably summarise all the important information in a production plan which would then be sent out to everyone who will work on or contribute to the event.
This is of course a very time consuming process and the information in the document quickly becomes stale and soon begins to rot, and oh the challenge of tracking everyone down to communicate each change to everyone involved. Even after all that, each individual contributor will potentially have to sift through a large document to find what they’re looking for in what might be a sea of information.
We therefore recommend using digital solutions that allow you to share information more dynamically, simplifying the work of creating and managing a production plan, which happens to be the Crescat platform in a very confined nutshell.
Budget your time
Plan your time carefully. This applies both in the time leading up to the event and of course the time during the event itself. It is important to plan out your event’s major milestones as well. Set dates for when you should book the venue, when suppliers should be in place, etc. Remember to set aside ample time in all stages.
During the event itself, it is common to have two different types of plans. One type is a daily plan and the other is a minute by minute plan. The daily schedule provides a total overview of all activities during the day, to both participants and contributors. Crescat has a great tool for creating highly customisable day plans for all contributors involved in production.
A timetable, also called a minute by minute plan, will provide a detailed overview of what is to be expected on stage and when. For example, when conducting a conference, a minute by minute plan should provide an overview of which speaker is on stage at what time. It is also common for a roadmap to contain cues or notes for technical personnel such as sound, lighting and AV. A timetable template can be found at the bottom of the page.
Budget your money
Make as detailed a budget for the event as possible. Also take the time to collect tenders from several different suppliers. There can be a big price difference for the same service or product, but remember; if the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
There are also large quality differences to consider and unfortunately there are also rogue players in the industry. Therefore, take the time to check the supplier’s references if in doubt.