No surprise, but the more effortless an event seems, the more work’s gone into it behind the scenes. A swan is an apt metaphor – graceful on the surface but paddling furiously beneath.
The knowledge and skill behind great event planning come with experience, and repeated practice.
Experience is always hard-earned and takes time. But here are some handy tips to hasten that process and plan a memorable event.
Step 1: Plan both for the best and worst
Understand that there will be instances wherein something will deviate from your carefully devised plan. And when this happens, don’t panic!
The best way to plan a corporate event is to create a list of the things that must be done before the event. Bear in mind that this must be a working document so you can freely change timelines.
Most importantly, always have a plan B. This may be a contingency venue, a backup photographer, a wet weather option, or another time or date. It is crucial for you to have a back-up plan in case something bad (or worse) happens.
Step 2: Don’t neglect the finer details
Consider the finer details of your corporate event. Make sure that your guests say WOW the moment they receive their invitations and post-event Thank You mementos. You would want to leave a positive impression on the minds of your guests. This way, they will be the first to RSVP the next time your company will host an event.
Think about how you want the room to look like, your color and theme, the table decorations, and your invitations. Make sure that everything works in harmony. Remember that a well-decorated room implies that you’ve taken your guests, and your events, very seriously indeed.
Step 3: Organize your guest list
Once all initial essentials like catering, venue and entertainment are ticked off, curating your guest list is your next step.
Plan an event that people want to go to, not one that they feel they must attend so they can be seen. An excellent way of doing this is to ensure that you create an experience that is beneficial not just to you, but also to your guests. Audience relevance is key.
Consider determining the reasons for hosting such an event and how your guests can benefit from being there. Often, people attend events to advance their knowledge and gain more connections.
Some of the best ways to help with your guests’ enjoyment include thinking about the run sheet and the seating arrangements. Make sure that the run sheets will allow them to have enough time to mingle and network, whether before the event starts or during a working lunch.
Also, think carefully about where you seat people. If, for instance, you have guests who want to make new connections, position them with like-minded individuals who are in the same industry.
You should aim that at the end of your event, your guests will walk away learning something new, with plenty of new possibilities and business cards in their pockets.
Step 4: Keep time
It is crucial for your event to keep time. Having an experienced MC or Master of Ceremonies is the best way to do this. In fact, the MC can either make or break your event.
A professional MC in Dubai, for instance, can add brevity to your event to keep your guests entertained and to lighten the mood. Thus, you have to choose one that can work with your staff in a cooperative manner, while managing the program with true professionalism.
5 Qualities to Look For in a Professional MC
When the microphone fails to work or the guest speaker is late, event hosts usually panic. But a great MC can handle unexpected situations with confidence. Also, they find solutions to make sure that the event maintains its flow and energy.
The best MCs are always prepared. And through practice, they’ve perfected the art of getting messages and industry jargon right in the time available to them. If you want a successful event, it’s best to choose an MC that’s a quick study and familiar with your industry.
Being resourceful means using what is currently available to achieve the desired results. MCs focus on the outcomes and use both traditional and unconventional methods to achieve them. They have solutions to any problem your event might encounter.
Good MCs are ruthless in their timekeeping. They start an event on time and they usually agree in advance with presenters or speakers on subtle gestures that let them know that it’s time to get off stage and move on to the next act.
Presenting and MCing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Good MCs are sociable, and show up early to get to know the teams putting the event together. They’ll have a word with venue managers, event planners, caterers, audiences and the audiovisual teams This helps them conduct the event from the stage and respond quickly if things need to be tweaked.
Step 5: Learn from mistakes
Each event adds to your list of dos and don’ts. As a professional presenter, your job is to take that learning to your next event, and do even better.
Evaluate your event’s failures and successes and determine what could be done for the next time to minimize such failures. Complete this evaluation with recommendations and feedback by speaking with audience members and event organisers post-event.
There you go. A handy guide to speed your next event to success. Good luck!
Hisham Wyne is an internationally recognised MC, broadcaster, presenter and moderator who helps the world’s best-known brands create memorable occasions. He regularly hosts conferences, panel sessions, gala dinners and award ceremonies for some of the world’s best brands. With 150+ events under his belt, Hisham is the professional speaker that brands and agencies turn to when wanting to interview, engage and entertain government VVIPs and Hollywood celebrities.