Information & Beyond

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WHERE DO I START?
​January 4, 2017

​Are you planning something fun for 2017?  Or maybe you have been tasked with organizing a conference at work, or an extended training session.  If you have never had to plan anything more than your weekly trip to the grocery store or an occasional weekend away, then event planning can be somewhat daunting.  But it doesn't have to be.

​A search of internet sites can be overwhelming with all of the detail given and while this short article won't be all inclusive, we trust it will help remove some of the stress.  Giving you a confidence in knowing you were able to accomplish what may seem to be the impossible.  Here are just a few tips to start with.

​1.  Start Backwards
​Whatever the event, take a few minutes to imagine the end result.  Get a picture in your mind of what you want it to be.  Keep in mind that often simple and classic is better than overdone, no matter how grandiose the actual event is supposed to be.  The old acronym KISS-Keep It Super Simple is really better for both your sanity and the guest experience.

​If it is a wedding, imagine the bride and groom at the altar and picture the space and what needs to be in it.  You really don't want too much or it will take away from the service.  Or, if it is a meeting, imagine everyone in the room and the presenter at the front.  Look around the room and visualize the things you will need to be responsible for. 

​Now write that all down.  What it 'should' be.

​2.  Guest Experience
​Take yourself, step by step through the process from the moment they receive the invitation through to the end of the event, taking notes along the way.  What do you want the guest to experience?  This is where these things must be kept in mind:
​    * Who is the audience?  Family, Friends, acquaintances, business associates, peers, bosses
​    * Communication is key.  Your invitation, whether by email, snail-mail, word of mouth, or social media sets the tone and the expectation. People are often disappointed when the invitation over states the purpose.  However, if it is a bit understated, they are often surprised and feel like it was well worth their time.
​    * Comfortable, but not too much.  Make sure that if it is a wedding, the guests feel like they can enjoy themselves, however if it is too casual it may get out of hand and someone will end up embarrassed.  A bride must realize, that outside weddings in the middle of the winter will usually mean low attendance.  An all day meeting in metal chairs will have people hearing more from their backsides than what is being presented, even if the information is invaluable.  But overstuffed chairs, that mimic a recliner may mean the presenter is battling noises from those who stayed up too late the night before.
​     * Ease of access.  If you are having a meeting and most of the attendees are healthy and active, walking a long distance to get into the building or the actual room is not a problem.  But if you have a party in a pasture, don't expect elderly Aunt Betsy to be able to make it.  Her walker just can't navigate the gopher holes and tall grass.

​3.  End Result
​At the end of the day, do you want your guest to remember the event or how it made them feel?  A bride thinks the wedding is all about her, and to a degree it is.  But 10 years down the road, if her family and friends tell her how much fun they had or how wonderful it was, that will mean more to her than everyone talking about how much she spent.  They probably won't even remember the trinkets on the table that cost an arm and a leg.

​In a business setting, if the attendees feel they gained valuable information with practical application, they are more likely to attend your next meeting.  Work to make sure they don't feel like you wasted their time, or you will never get them back.

​4.  Flex Plan
​No, this isn't a comment on the finances of the event.  Make a plan but be flexible.  If something you really wanted in the beginning is out of budget or unreasonable in the time-frame, change it.  If your plan doesn't seem to be coming together, sit down and rethink it.  Most problems occur because people don't logically think through their event, or they overthink the event.  Too many details give opportunities for the big fail.  Keeping it simple allows more opportunity for the perfect event and less stress on you.

​This isn't the entire run-down of planning your perfect event, but we hope this gets you started.  Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be good and valuable to everyone involved, including you.  That makes for a great event.