Events and road shows are a great way to mark company milestones, launch new initiatives or signpost changes. When it all comes together on the day, it looks easy – but someone has to take care of the detail and ensure that people attend.
Ten Things You Should Do
- Agree the purpose. Have a clear objective and make sure everyone, especially those inside the company, know the reasons for the event.
- Research your audience. Know who you want to invite, why you want to invite them and what impression you want them to have when they leave.
- Plan. Begin planning the event at least six months ahead. This will give time for your guests to find space in their diaries and you to find the right venue, book caterers, florists, photographers, set contractors, AV, and so on.
- Think presentation. If the event is on your premises then bring the maintenance schedule forward, add a lick of paint, replace worn carpets, broken light bulbs, holed fencing, tired signage or anything that would reflect badly.
- Issue proper invitations. Many people will not RSVP. You will have to chase and chase again, then chase some more. Even when they promise to come you must still phone them again the week before to confirm attendance, details of travel, accommodation, chauffeuring arrangements.
- Assign escorts. On the day, all key guests should have an escort who will be an ambassador for the company, briefing guests, controlling what they see and ensuring that their needs are met.
- Consider timing. Allow time for guests to travel to and from the event. Where the press are attending, allow time for them to return to their base or provide facilities for them to file their report.
- Beware of sounds off stage – fans, tannoys, traffic noise, kitchen staff and so on. This can cause embarrassment, especially when the guest speaker is interrupted.
- Record the event. Digital photography and high definition camcorders are very affordable and forgiving in the hands of keen amateurs. If the budget will stretch bring in the professionals for top notch video and picture production. This will provide a wealth of visual materials for use on CD/DVD, memory sticks, web sites or other presentation media.
- Co-ordinate. If all this sounds like hard work, it is. A member of staff should be given responsibility for the arrangements, and relieved of other tasks while they do this. Alternatively, bring in an outside events organiser professional with experience.
Five Things You Should Not Do
- Don’t pick a day that clashes with national holidays. Everyone who isn’t away is probably covering the work load for someone who is.
- Don’t expect people to attend at short notice. Even if they say they ‘might come’, most people will not come and you will not have time to persuade them to attend.
- Don’t set up an event that clashes with another popular event. If the World Cup final is taking place or they are about to land a human on Mars for the first time, then all the effort you put into your event could be wasted. Research what else is going on. Pay particular attention to major events in your own industry too!
- Don’t assume the weather will be perfect. Have contingency plans for poor weather and sensible precautions like golf umbrellas on hand to escort people from the car park.
- Don’t give tacky gifts. Most people already have enough mugs, pens, memory sticks and key fobs. Mementoes should be memorable.