Defining Your Goal
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Larry Elder
Determine the Event Type
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
– Walt Disney
Any successful event starts as an idea. Before that idea can be executed it's important to think about where the idea came from and what you want the end result to be. As the quote from Larry Elder suggests, wishful thinking is not enough to achieve the outcome you want. You need a plan and an objective to get you there. Ask yourself questions like, Why should this event take place? Where will the event be held? Who will be the target audience? What is the desired outcome? What do we want to accomplish? How will this event benefit (me, the attendees, the organization, our company, etc)? Answering these questions will lead you in the right direction and help you stay on track to creating the type of event you want.
Planning any event takes time, organization and clearly defined goals. Before you begin planning all the details you must first understand the main purpose of the event and what you are hoping to accomplish. A successful event will depend on an overall vision and taking the appropriate steps to ensure that your objectives and desired outcomes are achieved. Regardless of the size and scope of the event it is important to consider all of these aspects when planning any social event or gathering. With any event, there may be changes and unforeseen issues to address, however, with a structured plan in place you will be less likely to encounter such situations, making for a greater overall experience for your guests.
Now that you have clearly defined your goals and objectives for your event, you can start thinking about step 2 – determining the event type. There are a variety of event types to consider and what you choose should depend on both your desired outcome as well as your target audience. Knowing your audience will help you determine how to keep people interested and engaged during the event. Some events include conferences, tradeshows, off-site retreats, sales and marketing meetings, employee trainings or workshops, teambuilding, product launches, fundraising or charitable giving events, annual events such as beginning of the year kick off meetings, summer picnics, holiday parties, awards dinners and employee recognition events.
Once you know your goals and event type you can begin to strategize on the event details. The details are also referred to as your event outline or program. The details are the most important aspect to any event because it is a measurement of your guest’s overall experience and satisfaction as well as the factor that will determine if you were able to reach the goals you set in place. When it comes to the details think about your primary attendees and the message you want to convey to them. What message do you want the guests to take away? Do you want them to feel appreciated, loved, cared for, recognized, educated, empowered, motivated, inspired, enlightened or simply valued.
Determine the Scope of the Event
“We should seek the greatest value of our action.” – Stephen Hawking
The message can be shown through the overall event experience in several ways whether it is in the context of your words, the atmosphere of the event, the personal conversations, the gifts or take-aways, a look into the past or the future of your organization, collaboration amongst peers or praise for a job well done – you can decide how your message is received. The rest of the details will consist of planning your guest list, the timeframe and deciding which day of the week the event will take place, finding the appropriate venue, utilizing indoor or outdoor space, speeches and presentations, entertainment, meals, transportation and lodging in some cases, as well as you event budget and how much you have to allocate towards these expenses.
Focusing on the smaller details while keeping the bigger picture in mind will help you on your way to a successful event.
Photos courtesy of Dollar Photo Club
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Image: Danielle Honea Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.