Top Ten Planning Points for a Perfect Event

1. Define the Scope of Your Event

Start the planning process by determining the goals and objectives of your conference or event. A strategic assessment of goals, messaging and planning will ensure that your event provides tangible value to achieve your goals. span>
2. Overall Goals and Objectives

Is an event the best or most appropriate way to achieve goals (versus a press release or other targeted communication)?
What are the key goals or objectives of this event or conference? Specifically, what is the desired outcome and what do you want your guests to take away from this experience?

3. Key Planning and Production Items

What are your event’s pri mary messages and themes?

Speakers: Decide whether or not you want to have speakers. If so, be sure to choose the ones who will help you to achieve your objectives and goals. If there will be multiple speakers, how will their messages be differentiated and integrated? How will th e program be “choreographed”?
Target Audience: What is the target audience? Who else might benefit from this event beyond the primary attendees? If appropriate and feasible within budgetary constraints, consider including other members, as partners or special guests.
Date/Ti me/Location: What are the best dates, times and locations for this event? Why? Has adequate lead time been factored in (to invite attendees, reserve the venue, etc.)? Are you avoiding critical periods, such as back-to-school week, holiday times, conflicts with other events that might be of interest to your target group? Does your choice of location suit your goals/objectives? Should the venue be central, somewhat isolated or close to something / somewhere that pertains to your event?

4. Identify Marketing and Communications Strategies

· Marketing: How will this event be marketed? How can you obtain maximum effectiveness and leverage from your event – both before and after? Have you contacted media relations representatives?
· Communications: How will your message will be communicated or reinforced? Consider: invitations, printed programs, publications, advertising, and websites.
· Printed Materials: Do the printed materials (design and text) clearly reflect and identify your brand?

5. Select the Best Date

To avoid potential scheduling problems, check the following calendars to ensure that your preferred event date won’t conflict with any other large events that may be relevant to your target group.n>
· Holiday Calendar: This site provides dates of national and religious holidays: http://www.infoplease.com

· Sunrise and Sunset Calendar: This site provides the sunrise and sunset times for any given day: http://www.sunrisesunset.com

6. Event Fact Sheet

The Event Fact Sheet provides a brief event synopsis and includes basic details, such as who is attending (guest list); what is the program; what is the budget; what are the event goals; what are the general attendance statistics; and who is the contact person.
The event fact sheet is useful in helping to inform and brief staff and administrators, as well as in helping to address all of the basic event questions (who, what, where, when, etc.) for planning purposes.

7. Event Timeline

The event timeline is a schedule that lists the various tasks, notes, requirements, staff assignments, deadlines, etc. that pertain to the period leading up to the day of the event.
For a large-scale event, your timeline will likely cover a span of six months to a year prior to your actual event date.
It is advisable to create a separate timeline for your printed (or e-mail) materials (save-the-date, invitation, program, ticketing, etc.).

8. Financial Responsibilities

In addition to reviewing and approving your event’s programmatic content and ensuring compliance with company policy, the event manager is ultimately responsible for all costs and commitments related to the event.
It is vital to ensure that all commitments reflect, and are in line with, company policy.

9. Event Budget Planning

In a climate of escalating prices and limited resources, finding the best deals and meeting your bottom line are top priorities.
Planning out your expenses in advance will help you to determine the feasibility of your event, show you where you will be investing your funds and give you a clear picture of costs.
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10. Company Policies
Companies have strict policies with respect to entertainment, gifts, insurance and travel as they relate to events. Familiarize yourself with the company regulations about each of these.

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