An event is not just a mere happening. It is a powerful communication medium with which you can enthuse, amaze, persuade, unite a group or in fact, with which you can accomplish any public relations purpose you set. Well executed, it can and should be a milestone in your life or that of your company. Planning and executing an Event is both an artistic, creative endeavor and one that requires the utmost precision in engineering all of its parts and sequences. It also requires relentless insistence on quality and the upholding of a high standard. Its success depends on the artistic and organizational skills of the event planner working tightly with its customer in creating the event, planning it, selecting all of its elements down to the last detail, and then… making it all happen.
Envisioned Product & Message
The first step the event planner and customer must do is to envision the event in full. It is necessary to get a complete picture of what one wants the event to be like, look like, feel like for the guests or delegates, and what result one is trying to effect and/or what message one is trying to get across. Naming the result and message very precisely is crucial. Without this in mind, the choosing of event venue, agenda, designing of the set, lighting or decorations, and many details could end up betraying the very purpose of the event. Examples of envisioned results could be: for a corporate party that all employees feel they are part of a great and valuable team, proud to be a part of it, and renew their commitment to the company and its goals. The product of a Fundraiser could be a lot of donations of course, but also its attendees reassured that they are contributing to a great and valuable cause, feeling privileged to be part of this endeavor, and willing to contribute even more. The product of a wedding could be for the bride and groom, family and friends to experience a one in a lifetime moment, be awestruck by it, emotionally impacted, foresee together the best possible future, and of course to have a very good time. The envisioned result of a product launch would be that the attendees want to buy the product, use it, market it further, and have trust in you and in the product. So depending on the type of event, the Event Planner and customer should name together the envisioned result they want the event to result in, as well as its message. The planning of each part and detail of the event will have to align and integrate with this message or envisioned result.
Prediction & Sequences
At this stage the event planner in coordination with the customer names all the parts of the event, all of its sequences, and all required suppliers. The Event Agenda is the exact sequence of actions that will take place from beginning to end. Working it out in detail enables one to visualize the event fully and thus predict any and all details which could otherwise go overlooked. How will the guests get there? Should we supply transportation, maps, you name it. What about parking? What happens when the guests enter the venue? For a congress they would sometimes need name tags, in another event you would have a guest list with a reception set up. What happens then? How do they get drinks? Where are the bathrooms? Where do they sit? How comfortable does it need to be? How do we get their feedback when they leave? These are very few of many questions which get answered. Each of the needed suppliers is chosen based on their ability to meet the demand of the customer, be of the required quality and within the event budget. The event planner will have experience with event suppliers and will therefore be able to choose those that are reliable and proven.
Integration & Quality
There again all parts need to integrate one with another in terms of style, standard, and align to the message and envisioned result. Of course higher quality is often more expensive. A good event planner will put a lot of work in finding the best options of quality versus price for the customer, and most often will get deals that only a professional gets. This is why in many cases, using an event planner is not, in the final count, an additional expense. However, in deciding the required quality and to still meet one’s budget one should evaluate the choice of items against the result and message which was envisioned. Replacing an expensive laser show with fireworks could for instance create the same impact and save a lot on the budget. On the other hand, replacing fabric table cloth by paper cloth could significantly lower the effect of the decorations and menu and degrade one’s message. A good event planner will help and guide the customer in making all these decisions and in meeting his budget.
Leadership & Team Spirit
The event planner will be the central coordination point with all concerned suppliers to ensure that everything comes off exactly as planned. Good event planners have excellent relationships with their suppliers who work hard to retain the work opportunities they get from the planning company. Good event planners also have excellent leadership qualities in getting everyone to execute their part of the event. They make everyone get along and work as a team. It can be a lot of fun to prepare an event and should be.
The integrity and professionalism of each supplier is of the utmost importance. Your event planner should be able to guarantee these to you when choosing the suppliers. The event planner ensures the suppliers perform their task exactly and demonstrate integrity and honesty. This is one of the most valuable services which the event planner provides you, as without it, you could find yourself dealing with logistics and details of the event when you should be preparing yourself to lecture, to get married, or whatever the case might be. The event planner is dedicated to taking care of everything so you do not have to worry about it.
Customer Care & Service Orientation
Events can be complicated matters with many parts and details. Things can also come up at the last minute, which need to be cared for. You as the customer, should be undistracted throughout and should something unpredicted come up, the event planner should do its best to resolve whatever it is, make things appear or disappear. If it comes up at a Congress that it is the birthday of one of the delegates and you want a cake to appear during the lunch, your event planner will take care of it. You suddenly require a security set up for a VIP attendee; the event planner will have the needed contacts to accommodate this rapidly. Of course all should be done to predict each and every requirement way in advance. However should such emergencies come up, having an event planner makes all the difference and allows you to remain undistracted… and a good event planner will take the challenge and meet it.
After the Event
Where feasible and appropriate it is always good to collect feedback from your guests or attendees. This is often neglected but should be done. Whether in the form or surveys, a guest book placed at reception, or by asking around elegantly, one should find out to if one achieved his purpose and to what degree. For instance, the attendees of a product launch should be surveyed as to how they feel about the product and what use they will have of it. This can be key in planning the next step for the customer to take in marketing his product. The attendees of a seminar or congress should similarly get surveyed and can help determine the orientation of a following event. It is part of the professionalism of the event planner to take all such feedback into account to improve where need be, consolidate trust in suppliers, or where appropriate, reutilize successful formats. Good video footage and photography is most often a must. As one small example of many things which can be required after an event; “Thank you” cards for anyone who particularly went out of their way or performed competently can be handled by the event planner. There again a good event planner will help you take care of all the “after event” details and make sure everything is completed to your satisfaction.
Lastly, as a professional in this field for many years, I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it is and how much satisfaction I have in creating and organizing events with and for my customers. Again, an event is not “something that comes and goes” but a powerful communication weapon which well executed can and should be a milestone in your life or that of your company.
Naomi Tavor is he owner of Imagine Events – Jewish Weddings Planning in Israel.