Guest Author: Kaylee Page
Whether it’s your first time planning an event or you’ve done it a million times, there are four things to always keep in mind when planning an unforgettable event.
Keep it simple.
"Don’t bite off more than you can chew" is a phrase we hear often. And it’s so true in event planning. If too much is taken on to accomplish, the branding gets sloppy and the logistics of it all becomes overwhelming. Stick to a few things and do them well.
Try this: For a recent corporate event, I focused on these three blocks: food, programming, and free time. This allows me to not try and add too much movement for the guests and allows me to spend time creating the experience of each block.
Guide your guests.
Have you ever showed up to an event and didn't know where to get a drink? Have you ever attended an event and wondered when the programming was going to end so that you could just get some food in your stomach? The best planned events provide a very clear and understandable experience for your guests. Your guests want to know what they are attending and why – what’s in it for them? They want to leave knowing exactly what they achieved – fun? education? network? Make sure to think through the event minute by minute and piece by piece. Where are the bathrooms? Will I guest have to walk in front of everyone to get there? If so, they’re not going to remember much about your event other than how embarrassed they were when the bathroom door slammed!
Try this: First, signage is always an awesome thing! And instead of the typical handwritten sharpie note taped to the door, use this opportunity to show off your brand a bit. Second, think of one or two of your guests and map out their experience of your event on paper. By doing this, you'll identify the important touch points of your event and where you can make a difference.
Make them smile.
If you can make your guests smile, you’ve nailed it. Do something unique, crazy, different, fun. Think out of the box and take risks! Allow others into your planning and see if you can get them to smile. An event they've never experience before will leave folks talking for days – and all it can require is making them smile!
Try this: Put a childhood treat at their seats! Razzles are the best for this. Your guests will smile and laugh reflecting on childhood memories – and will make new memories as an adult as they chomp, chew and smack each piece.
Avoid the horrendous.
It is better to not serve food than to serve less-than-mediocre food. If something noticeably bad, it will be remembered – and talked about. I know this seems obvious but what can often happen as a planner is getting caught up with too many ideas and plans - without the budget or time to make them awesome. The goal is remind yourself that nothing is ever worth it, just for the sake of having it. Let’s be honest, you don’t want your event unforgettable because it was so horrible.
Try this: If you can’t afford good food, make a fancy drink! If you can’t afford linens that match, find fancy plate-ware to distract from the absence of linen.