We all know event planning is hard, but then there’s the event team management bit. To me, planning is pre-event, and managing is what you do on site. Successful events have more chance of achieving their KPIs if you have comprehensive plans of how you will execute the event on site. Something which is significantly easier if you have a kick arse event team. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to use a two day conference with around 1,000 guests, and multiple breakouts as an example. Mainly because I’ve done that before, speak what you know and all that…
Assign sub-section leaders
If you’re lucky enough to have a team, you should give each member of your team a section to look after. Give one person catering, another speaker management, another AV, another registrations. Think about the honest strengths and weaknesses of your team. Who is better to have in front of house roles? Who isn’t scared to tell the kitchen they need to hurry the F*%k up? With larger events in particular, your job as the event manager should be to oversee all of the mechanics. You should know exactly what is going on in each of these sections, so that those who have been assigned roles get a great briefing from you. More on that later.
Before you’ve even assigned out your roles, communication with your event team is paramount. They need to know exactly what they’re doing and what you’re expectations of them are. Perhaps most importantly, they need to know what to do if something isn’t right. They need to know how to get hold of you on the day or lead up to the event, and how much you’d like them to deal with problems themselves vs come to you.
Choosing a mode of communication with your event team is important. Make sure people know what that is. Your life will be easier if you know you only need to look at whatsapp. However, if one person is messaging you by text, another is emailing, another is using slack AND you’ve got a radio in your ear. You’re quickly going to loose track. One tip which I’ve learnt the hard way, test the internet connection and signal in all of the rooms you’ll be using before deciding to go with a phone based messaging system.
Ask for help
Even with the best plan in the world, sometimes things will happen which you could never in a million years have predicted. I recommend that when on site at an event, as the event manager you should have a go to person to delegate to. This should be someone who you trust to do the job just as well as you could. This person will have a briefing which contains every single tiny detail that only you would know. They shouldn’t be assigned any category as above. Their main role will be to do whatever you tell them to, no matter how big or small. They should also be the person to go to if you’re taking a well needed break.
Plan for weakness
OK let’s be honest here, events is a high pressured industry to be in. As event managers, stress levels are often high, and when someone isn’t performing the way we want them to, that can quickly turn into unhelpful sarcastic comments and bitchy behaviour. Blame the adrenaline.
Instead of this, simply immediately pull the plug on the person that’s not up to scratch. Time to bring in back up. Whether your catering lead has really bad period pains, or your AV manager is literally just not in the mood. Whatever the reason, don’t even bother trying if you can avoid it. Even though it will put another member of your team under more pressure, having someone who is in the right place to work will make your event run much smoother. Plus, it will relieve your stress by allowing you to know everything is in safe hands. It will also release tension in the team of someone not pulling their weight.
On top of these tips, I’d say eat plenty whenever you can, have bottles of water EVERYWHERE, and good luck!
If you found this article helpful, check out my other articles about corporate event planning.