So, the CEO has popped into your office and given you the exciting news that the organisation is to open a new service—this means one thing. Can you please set about organising an official opening? Most things are pretty straight-forward—sorting the catering, the photographer, the audio-visual requirements, and, of course, the plaque on the wall. But here is our Top 10 Things You Mustn’t Forget When Organising Your Next Event. Just in case!
- Do a recce of the venue in advance and know where everything is—e.g. the toilets, the cloakroom, the air-conditioning controls, the blinds and the light switch—very important so that people can see that Power Point presentation you spent all weekend working on.
- If you’re inviting public representatives, best to hold the event on a Monday or a Friday, when they are not generally occupied with Oireachtas business.
- Arrive at the venue early to set up your presentations, to get to know the systems, how to use the sound controls, become familiar with adjusting the microphone seamlessly and so on. Have a back-up plan if something goes wrong—your presentation on a memory stick or a spare projector. If it’s a hotel or other public venue, know who the IT person is in advance. Arrange to meet them early on the day of your event to fix any issues that may arise—not least ensuring that the broadband connection works and that the video will actually play when it is supposed to.
- Have Velcro, blue tack, Sellotape, duct tape and a pair of scissors in your event kit—you’d be surprised how often they come in handy for fixing that podium sign or attaching a ribbon; and don’t forget to have umbrellas, preferably branded ones, in the event that the heavens open. Heaven forbid.
- Record the event on camera or other recording device. Your special guest is likely to say lots of complimentary things about your organisation and the work that you do. Make sure that these are captured—they can be used in your press release, in your promotional materials or you could even place an edited version of a video on your website or social media channel.
- Don’t forget branding in your pictures—have a sign on your podium and organise so that your photographs are taken in front of the organisation’s exhibition stand or other branded signage, etc.
- Ask yourself these questions: is the venue accessible? do you need a sign language interpreter? have you catered for all dietary requirements? have you gotten consents for use of images as needed? have you turned off your mobile for that presentation?
- When you’re having a party, it’s always good policy to invite the neighbours… they may have had nothing to do with the development of your facility or service, but you will be living beside each other for the foreseeable future. It’s always good to have a friendly face next door when you run out of sugar or have ten delivery trucks arriving in one day.
- Say thank you. It’s easy to move on to the next project after your gig—the work just keeps on coming—but make sure to send a note to all those who provided support for your event. It’s the polite thing to do and it will also be of huge benefit to you the next time you need to get that person’s support.
- Finally, smile, keep calm and carry on!
The key to successful event management is preparation—once you have done the work, the odds are most definitely in your favour. That is, unless your special guest has missed their train…
As always, feel free to share your own experiences and, if you still don’t know where to start, please get in touch