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Event planning: Behind the scenes

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IMG_5273aBusiness-related events are not foreign for professionals. On any given day, there are breakfasts, luncheons, fundraisers, presentations, awards banquets – you name it. There is a lot of excitement surrounding the day of these events: networking, the possibility of your company receiving an award or even simply getting out of your normal office environment. But there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make the events we all know and love successful.

Some events take up to a year to plan. If it’s something that takes place on an annual basis, planning can begin almost immediately after that event wraps up for the current year. Why, you might ask? Think of all that goes into these: nailing down an event theme, establishing your messaging, pinpointing your target audience, securing sponsorships, ensuring your date doesn’t conflict with other events, venue selection, food/drink service, save the dates, compiling invite lists, communication ahead of time (media, guests, the community in general if it’s a public event,) etc.

Is your company thinking of planning an event? If so, here are some key things to remember to get you started:

  • Before you get into the fine details, hone in on your target audience, set your purpose and outline your goals. Setting benchmarks will lay the foundation for planning the rest of your event – and it gives you something to look back at to ensure you’re on track to meet your event’s goals.
  • Think of the timing. Does your event have a specific purpose that could tie into an awareness week or month (ex: mental health awareness week, heart month, etc.) Do some research ahead of time to see what you can tie your event into on a larger level. (Just make sure you aren’t repeating something that is already being done locally.)
  • Develop three to five key messages. Weave these messages into event promotion, sponsorship packets and day-of speeches. These key messages should be used consistently throughout planning all the way through execution. Go back to your purpose – that will likely be key message number one.
  • Secure your sponsors early, earlier than you think. Remember, budgets are planned out during the fourth quarter for many businesses. Is your event top of mind? Sure, there are sponsorship allotments worked into budgets, but setting your meetings early and having a well thought-out, meaningful sponsorship packet can help make your event a priority. Hint: target businesses whose goals and objectives are similar to those of your event.

Have you recently planned an event? What was your biggest challenge?

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