How to Plan an Event That’ll Wow Your Guests: Professional Event Planning Tips & Strategies

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How to Plan an Event

Are you getting ready to plan an event? You want to host an event that people are going to rave about. You want to have an event that is so good, people will come back year after year.

Would you like to learn how you can plan a successful event? Read this guide to find out.

The Goals and Purpose of the Event


Your event starts with a purpose. It’s the reason why people are going to invest their time and energy in your event. It will help you get clear as to what your event will offer compared to the other events that exist in your industry.

For example, the purpose of your event could be to raise funds for a non-profit. It could be to build awareness of your brand or to launch a new product.

You’ll want to set internal goals for your event, too. These can be financial goals, attendee satisfaction goals, or brand awareness goals.

Get Your Team Together


An event is a massive undertaking. It’s pretty impossible to take on planning an entire event on your own. There’s a lot to keep track of, and you’ll need to share responsibilities to keep your sanity.

The main areas you want to have covered are venue search & management, keynote speakers, sponsorships, entertainment, marketing & promotions, and volunteers.

You can have these broken down into committees and subcommittees. It’s important to have one person take the leadership role in each area to oversee the committee.

What Do Attendees Want from the Event?


Before you take any more actions, you need to answer one question. What do your attendees want and value out of your event?

If it’s a first-time event, you’ll want to survey potential attendees. Ask them what’s important to them, whether it’s the networking opportunities or keynote speakers.

Ultimately, event planning is the fine balance of your goals with what the attendees want and expect from the event.

Set Your Date


When you get an idea as to what your goals are, what the attendees want and how you can go about fulfilling them, you’ll want to make your commitment.

It’s time to set a date. It’s harder than it looks because you want to give yourself the best chance to have a lot of attendees.

A 5K event wouldn’t want to schedule on a weekend when there are 5 or 6 other 5K events in the area. You want to schedule your event at a time that doesn’t conflict with holidays (both public and religious), extended school breaks like spring break, and competing events.

Do you have keynote speakers that you’re targeting? You’ll want to reach out to them early in the process to check their availability.

Ideally, you want to give yourself a lot of time to plan and promote the event. An ideal time frame is 6 months.

Book the Venue


You’ll want to book the event location as soon as you have the date set. This will allow you to start to promote the event.

When you plan an event, you have to make the event about your attendees. That includes the venue. You want to make sure that the event space is easily accessible. It should be close to public transit and have plenty of parking.

As part of the contract with the venue, you’ll have an idea as to how the event will be catered. Most places will work with a catering company. Hotels will have a series of packages for lunch, snacks, and drinks to make sure the attendees are comfortable.

You’ll also want to make sure that the space addresses your audio-visual needs. Keynote speakers may need projectors, microphones, and screens to present. If there are breakout workshops at your event, the rooms should have audio-visual capabilities.

Some places will add A/V equipment to the cost of the venue. This is something that you’ll want to watch out for as you’re exploring spaces.

Learn to Love Spreadsheets


Event planning is a series of steps. You want to make sure that each step in the event process is mapped out and assigned.

That can be done at the committee level, but there should be a master plan spreadsheet that the key members of your team have access to. That gives you access to know what’s happening in different areas and see if there are other areas that need more assistance.

It doesn’t have to be a complicated spreadsheet. Have one column that lists the tasks, the next column with the committee responsible. The third column lists the person responsible for that task and the last column can be for notes.

This will also hold everyone accountable for their part in the event planning process.

Event Branding and Promotion


You have to have a marketing and promotions plan in place for your event. This is the most important part. Otherwise, how will you get attendees to the event?

You can rely on email marketing, social media ads, and search ads to start with. Instagram is another tool to use to promote your event. You can also have cross-promotional opportunities with sponsors to help spread the word.

Think Through the Registration Process


First impressions are everything. A long dragged out and unplanned registration process can create the wrong impression of your event before it gets started.

Make sure that you plan out the registration process. Put yourself in the shoes of attendees and walk through the process step by step.

What technology will be used? Will you accept payments at the door? How will they be handled? When will you print out name tags? Will there be a space for mingling and networking before your event begins?

You’ll want to have these questions answered well before the event.

Plan an Event for Success

Learning to plan an event can be an enlightening experience. There are so many details to remember and keep track of, it takes a team to make it happen.

At the end of the event, you’ll be left exhausted. When you hear the positive feedback from attendees, you’ll know that it’s all worthwhile.

Would you like some event planning inspiration? Check out these events around the world that you have to attend once.

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