There are a multitude of blogs and articles out there that tackle the subject of event management. What makes this any different? The simple fact that Raah-Literacy & Cultural Centre being one of the premiere performance & event space in Pune, it sets us apart from the host of other contributors that one may find in abundance online. The insight that one may be able to glean from the experiences of an actual performance and events space would surely be more accurate and relatable.
One must learn to walk before one can run. Thus before elaborating upon the intricacies of how to better manage events, let us brush up our existing knowledge of event management. Event management is a process where one applies the tools and techniques of project management to create and development large-scale events such as festivals, conferences, ceremonies, weddings, formal parties, concerts, reading or movie clubs or conventions. It involves understanding the product or service the event is centered on, identifying its target audience, coming up with the event concept, and coordinating the technical aspects before actually launching the event.
At Raah we organize almost a dozen events a month if not more on some occasions. This gives us an edge when it comes to the planning and execution of events like concerts, plays, reading sessions, book launches, play readings, seminars, book and movie discussion clubs, etc.
An event manager is a fantastical creature. And although it also has only two hands and two feet and one brain, just like the rest of us, these event managers plan and execute the event to perfection. They take complete responsibility for the creative, technical, and logistical aspects of any event. This includes overall event design, branding, marketing and communication strategy, audio-visual production, technical, script writing, logistics, budgeting, negotiation, and client services.
Due to the complexities involved, a person must have the ability to think on their feet and take quick decisions. As there is an extensive body of knowledge required, and also due to rapidly changing environments, event management is frequently cited as a stressful career path.
Let’s discuss some pointers that aspiring event managers and even the average reader can keep in mind to carry out successful and fulfilling events, small or large ones.
Planning is the pre-requisite to any management process. The planning process for an event entails:
Having objective and achievable goals in mind. This will ensure that all the efforts thereon are directed towards the fulfillment of said objectives and therefore will lead up to a successful event.
Set a budget. Establish a deadline. Stick to them to avoid confusion and hurdles in the even at inopportune moments.
Organizing your time and your workspace is important to get into a good headspace and zone into work. It will streamline your efforts and maximize efficiency.
Draw up appropriate contracts for all the people and resources that are involved in the event management process. Maintain documentation so that they can be referred to in the future post the event. It also helps in accounting and budgeting.
The whole point of maintaining a checklist as this is to minimize last minute, unexpected changes in the event format or execution.
Always have contingencies in place. Have backup artists or performances or fillers in place. Keep multiple vendors informed and have a backup so that the event doesn’t suffer if one of them fails to turn up. As the adage goes, ‘the show must go on’.
The venue is arguably the most important part of an event. There couldn’t possibly be an event without a venue, no? An event venue may be an onsite or offsite location where the event will take place.The venue must have a good location and be central to the audience for easy commute. It should be sufficiently sized for the audience size. It should suit the theme and type of the event in terms of ambience. For example Raah is one of the only event hosting venues South Pune (Lullanagar, Sahani Sujan Park, Wanowrie, NIBM Road, Kondhwa and neighbouring areas) has to offer. It is equipped with light and sound fixtures which can be utilized for everything from theatrical performances to music concerts to discussions and book launches.
If you’re an event manager, you may or may not be responsible for operations at a rented event venue or entertainment venue but if it is your own venue you will most definitely have to monitor all aspects of the event on-site. Some of the tasks aforementioned in the introduction may pass to the venue, but usually at a cost.
Corporate event managers book event venues to host corporate meetings, conferences, networking events, trade shows, product launches, and team-building retreats or training sessions in a more tailored environment.
Promotions are a way to get the word out about your event to the masses by using different marketing strategies. Anything that generates interest or awareness about your business and drives ticket sales or event attendance will come under promotion efforts. There are multiple channels that one can use nowadays, social media, of course, being the strongest weapon in the arsenal.
Let’s take a look at some essential things you must keep in mind when it comes to promotions.
Define your event promotion goals. Not all events need to have the same goals. The objectives of an event can differ and they must be thought of and stated clearly before carrying out promotions. Some events aim to achieve maximum number of attendance of guests, while some might focus more on sales of tickets, whereas others may strive to get most number of registrations.
Align sales and marketing strategies to achieve optimal results from any sort of promotional activity. The two must come together as a concerted effort.
Choosing channels of communication and promotion wisely is paramount to the success of any promotional strategy and therefore the success of the entire event.
Develop a clear communications strategy and have guidelines for consistent messaging and design output. All the communication that comes out for promotions must feel like a single voice and should have some form of a narrative or direction that it follows. Random posts and messaging in terms of advertisements or pamphlets or collateral might even confuse the guests.
Mobilising the attendees or the target audience to do more promotions for you through social media or word of mouth can be one of the most impactful strategies any event manager can manage to pull off. People can be incentivized to do so through discount coupon codes or gifts or prizes.
Event Guest List
The guest list of any event must be carefully curated. So what are the points one can keep in mind when drafting said invite list? Simply put, the guest list should be a reflection of what your target audience is and what you intend to do in the event, i.e. objective of the event.Now when we talk about a guest list it is assumed that it is not a ticketed event, usually. There can be a certain number of invitees for ticket events as well.
Keep in mind the nature of the event and then decide the demographic of the guest list.
Invite people well in advance so that they have enough time and notice to fit it in their schedules and RSVP with the hosts or the organizers.
Having confirmations is important as it helps you to prepare accordingly for the event.
Imagine inviting 100 guests and only 40 show up. The preparations that you have made will go to waste. The exact opposite can happen as well where more guests turn up and it looks like the event managers have under-prepared, which is way worse.
Inviting too many or too few people can always turn into a damage control situation later.
The event venue and the event budget also play a crucial role in deciding the size and nature of the event guest list.
Inviting industry leaders from within the field of the event or the vertical is always a good idea. It gives more visibility and credibility to the event.
Pre Event Checklist
As the name so evidently suggests this checklist is basically what we call a to-do-list. Whatever steps we’ve gone through right until this point have to be put down systematically in a list. This list becomes a master task list and must be completed satisfactorily much before the event is about to commence to be on the safe side.
So based on all the aforementioned points, a template for a checklist for a corporate training event at a corporate training venue in Pune, for example,would look something like this:
- Establish your goals and objectives
- Put together a rough budget
- Select a date
- Choose a location, a venue, and vendors
- Choose a theme
- Research performers or speakers
- Start your sponsor search
- Build your website
- Begin to promote your event
- Draft a schedule
- 1 months out: Planning the nitty gritty
Once you get your event sketched out, you need to keep your budgets updated with the latest estimates and quotes. Dedicate 10 minutes a day to this work as you work out the details below, and you’ll get a clearer picture of your expected revenue. The tasks listed below should be tackled at least 1 month before your event.
Post Event Wrap Up
It is usually the case that once the event is concluded, the organizers or the event team tends to get distracted. The event may very well be over but the post event tasks must be completed without fail or delay. These usually include:
Disassembling and packing equipment, technical aspects of the event.
Acknowledge the contribution by involved parties. Pay them off if payments are involved.
Conduct a post-event survey. The survey can be aimed towards the audiences. This will help gather constructive feedback from the audience perspective which will better the next event experience if nothing else.
Perform a post event analysis. This is more geared towards inwards inspection. Take the pre event checklist out to see if everything was executed systematically. Are the event objectives fulfilled? Did the event go as planned? Was the budget adhered to?
Follow up with press and social media campaigns. Just like promotions are pre event, they need to be complimented with post event efforts as well. You invited people to the event. Now it’s time to show them how it went and ensure that those who didn’t make it this time around are definitely engaged and will turn up next time around.
The last step can be a continuation of the mobilising the audience step we discussed earlier during promotions. One should encourage attendees to share their event experience on social media and respond to mentions and questions. It creates a lot of vibes and generates event even after the event.
Sustainable event management which is also known as event greening is a recent phenomenon. It is basically an event with particular concern for environmental, economic, and social issues.
Sustainability in event management incorporates socially and environmentally responsible decision making into the planning, organization and implementation of, and participation in, an event. It involves including sustainable development principles and practices.People are becoming aware of environmental issues and want to be more involved in saving and sustaining the planet in whatever little way possible. Event greening should ideally be incorporated at the inception of the project so that it involves all the key role players, such as clients, organizers, venues, sub-contractors, and suppliers.All of us should strive to make our events greener and sustainable, especially the spaces for events & activities in Pune.