Personal Tips From 13 Years of Managing Events
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ” —Aristotle
After organizing multiple events of all forms and sizes with local and overseas VIPs and dealing with many unexpected circumstances, we have found that operational checklists, project timelines and budget plans are vital to organizing a successful event. This is almost common-sense to every event professional.
There are also some useful practices and relationship tips which we have learnt from trial and error, that are just as important as the checklists and schedules.
- Know Your Venue Providers
In choosing between venues for your events, try to select the one that has more function spaces of various sizes so that you can better accommodate any unexpected needs that may arise from changes in your event programme, for example a sudden lunch meeting between ASEAN ministers or a sudden media interview with your Guest-of-Honour.
To prevent paying for last minute attrition of your overseas delegates and unused rooms, schedule your registration deadlines before the “minimum guarantee” accommodation and catering deadlines stipulated by the hotels. It is also to your benefit to cultivate a more than cordial relationship with your venue providers such as hotels and convention centres. Hotel managers tend to be more flexible in their contract terms and menu options if they trust you to be reasonable in your demands and your commitment to meet their deadlines.
- Develop List of Preferred Vendors
We choose to work with preferred vendors who have proven themselves capable of delivering the best value for their services at the best pricing. This is especially important for events when time is never enough and good vendors willingly work hand-in-hand with you through the night to make sure that the backdrop is properly setup or the sound system is fully tested for the big event happening the next day.
Genuine connections with your event partners will also bring down costs due to economies of scale in printing and production. The cost savings can then be passed to the client to be used for making the event even better in other ways.
- Respect Your Audio-Visual Teams and Contractors
Although it is common courtesy to show respect to people you work with, event days are when all hell breaks loose and AV teams generally bear the brunt of all complaints and scolding. Please remember that AV teams are the cornerstone of every event and it will only be advantageous to you as an event organizer to create and maintain a positive working relationship with them.
Outline your expectations clearly so that there is minimal risk of miscommunication. Rehearse the opening sequence and ceremonial proceedings with the team so that all key technicians are well-informed of each cue and follow-up. It is also necessary to run through with the AV team what are the possible deviance from the programme such as the late arrival of the Guest-of-Honour, and what are the possible alternate scenarios and cues that will take place in such situations.
- Prepare a Doraemon ‘Kit’
Since anything and everything can happen at an event, we recommend that you put together a Doraemon ‘Kit’ so that you will never be caught unaware.
a. Contact List
Create a contact list of all important phone numbers especially of the key personnel in charge of the various contact points and contacts of all entertainers and planned activities. Always ensure that you have the contact number of the banquet or facility manager on duty so that you can update them on any changes such as bringing forward the refreshment timings.
b. Backup of Templates and Designs
Keep and bring soft copies of all event materials such as registration lists, signage and name tent templates etc. so that you can immediately make changes whenever necessary.
c. Extra Name-tags
You can almost always expect last minute registrations and replacement participants. Hence, it is important to prep extra name-tags and lanyards for such cases.
d. Various Adapters
It is a common occurrence to encounter speakers who prefer to use their own laptops / tablets for presentations but did not carry the relevant adapters. This is where you can come in to save the day.
e. Stationery Box
Set aside a place to keep all kinds of writing pens and markers as well as small tools such as scissors, staplers and screwdrivers so that your crew and helpers can easily find them in times of urgency.
Duct tape is very useful for fixing loose cables, posters and skirting etc. Double-sided tape, scotch tape and masking tape are also great for taping last minute notices or securing seat labels.
g. First-aid Kit
A first-aid kit will come in handy when handling simple headaches or injuries.
We hope that knowing and following the above tips will help make your event planning easier. At the same time, we will strive to improve and stay relevant through constant reflection of our events and keep up-to-date with new event trends to serve you better.