When it comes to planning an in-person event, there are a lot of things to consider. You have to make sure that the venue is perfect for your attendees, that there are enough chairs for everyone, and that everything goes according to plan on the day of the event itself. However, when you’re done with planning everything out and have all of these details worked out, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and enjoy yourself!
Tip 1: Plan Your Event as if it’s Going to Be In-Person
First and foremost, you should plan your event as if it’s going to be in-person. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when planning an event. They assume that because they won’t physically be there, nothing needs to be planned.
Try using a whiteboard or some other visual aid to help you organize all of your thoughts into a coherent schedule. It’s important to include everything—but not necessarily in order of importance! For example:
- Your agenda (what exactly are you going to do?)
- A list of who will give presentations/how long each presentation will last and what topics will be covered
(Note: You don’t need to include things like “I’m going to give a presentation about how hot dogs are made.” That’s obvious.)
Tip 2: Set a Date and a Time
You’ll want to set a date and time for your event that is convenient for both you and your target audience. If you’re hosting a seminar about the best way to prepare for retirement, it might not be wise to have it on the same day as a conference focusing on retirement planning.
Likewise, if you’re organizing an evening networking event in which people can meet with one another over drinks, choose a time when there won’t be many other events on the calendar that could compete with yours—like during lunchtime or after hours. Then again, if your goal is just to get more people involved in your company or organization without taking away from their personal lives too much (e.g., home life), then consider scheduling an early morning meeting before work so they can attend without having to worry about missing much at all!
Tip 3: Create a Timeline by Starting with the Big Milestones and then Filling in the Smaller Details
Once you’ve created your big milestones, it’s time to fill in the smaller details. Take a look at your calendar and start filling in all the little tasks that need to be completed.
For example, if you’re planning an event with talks, workshops, and demos for 5 days straight, break down those days as follows:
Day 1: Welcome reception (3 hours) followed by dinner (2 hours), then presentations from speakers and panels of experts (5 hours).
Day 2: The morning will be devoted to workshops and demonstrations; after lunch we’ll have more talks from industry leaders before breaking for dinner (2 hours).
Tip 4: When Planning Your Budget, Allocate Funds for Speakers, Venues, and Any Entertainment that You Have Planned
When planning a budget for your event, there are three things that you should allocate funds for: speakers, venues, and entertainment.
- Speakers: The quality of the speakers at your event is going to make or break it. So how much should you allocate for each speaker? We recommend $500 per hour-long speech and $500 per 30 minute speech. That’s not necessarily what every guest will be charged—they might have a flat fee or some other price structure—but this is an amount that gives you room to negotiate down if they request less time than they need while still paying them fairly. You don’t want to save money on motivational speakers by cutting their pay!
- Venues: You’ll also need to decide where you’ll hold the event; whether it’s in someone’s house or at an art gallery, venue costs can add up quickly depending on what amenities are required (for example, if there aren’t any chairs available at the venue). We recommend allocating about $100/guest for food costs (which includes appetizers) and another $100/guest for alcohol costs (which includes beer). This means if there are 100 guests attending who would like both appetizers and drinks during dinner service then those two items alone could cost close enough together that one person could spend over half their paycheck trying just those two things alone! Of course most people won’t spend all their money just on those two activities but we thought this would give context as opposed to just saying “allocate enough money so nobody goes hungry.”
Tip 5: Brainstorm Ways to Make Your Event Different from Others in Your Industry
A good way to start brainstorming ideas is to think about what makes your event unique. For example, are there other events in your industry that will be happening around the same time as yours? If so, how can you differentiate yourself from them and make yours stand out?
Think about what differentiates your event from others in the industry. Is it a new type of speaker or topic? A new location? An interactive element that is unique to your organization such as an app or website where users can get more information on the event or submit questions during presentations (I’ll talk more about this later).
Tip 6: Plan to Include Some Downtime so Attendees Can Network With One Another
Invitees should have time to chat with one another, and you should encourage them to do so. If your event is a formal one, make sure there are reserved areas where attendees can mingle and network freely. If you’re planning a less formal event, consider including some breaks in between sessions so that people can talk with their peers during these times.
There are many ways to help your attendees make the most of this networking opportunity:
- Provide name badges or name tags at check-in for each attendee. Make sure they include names, titles (or positions), company names and logos of the companies represented by attendees at the conference table(s). This helps attendees remember names easily and gives them something fun to talk about as they meet with new people during meals or other breaks throughout the conference day.* Provide each attendee with an information packet containing all relevant details about yourself and your organization; include contact information so attendees can reach out after returning home from your event if needed.* Make it clear that there will be plenty of opportunities for informal networking throughout the day; encourage participants not only on stage but also around tables during meals or breaks so everyone has ample time to chat with one another
Tip 7: Branding is Important
Branding is important if you want to stand out from your competitors as well as give your event a unique identity of its own. Branding can be done in many ways, including through logos, colors and fonts.
When deciding on the right branding for your event, think about what kind of message you want to send out (fun? formal? friendly?). Do some research into other events that have similar themes or styles to yours and see what they did differently from one another. For example, if there are multiple conferences held in the same city during the same week; which ones caught your attention? Why was that?
Tip 8: Let People Know About Your Event on Social Media
Another great way to get the word out about your event is through social media. Social media is a great way to reach your audience and it’s free!
You can use hashtags to help people find your event, but be sure you’re using them in a way that matches your brand and personality. If you prefer not to use hashtags, simply adding a link to your webpage or Facebook page where people can register for the event will do just fine.
Tip 9: Ask Questions About How to Resolve the Issues Before Committing to Anything
The best way to avoid this problem is by asking questions about how to resolve these issues before committing to anything. Ask questions about the issues that you find most important, such as “How do we make sure people know where they can grab food?” or “How will we keep track of who’s coming and going?” You might also want to ask about the issues that you find most difficult, like “What happens if it rains?” or “What happens if someone spills their drink on my carpeting?” And don’t forget about the ones that are confusing even though they’re not necessarily problematic, like “Why does everyone have their own name badge but only some people have lanyards around their necks? Are those special badges for VIPs or something?”
Tip 10: Use Event Management Platform
You’ve done all the legwork, you’ve planned the event and you have a great agenda. Now it’s time to sell tickets, manage RSVPs and collect email addresses. If you are using an event management tool like Eventtia for your in-person event (and you really should be) it will make selling tickets much easier! You can create a landing page that has all of the necessary information about the event including registration links, pricing info and any other important details. The platform also allows attendees to collect their badges themselves at check-in as opposed to having an attendant do it for them—this makes things much easier on everyone involved! Just remember not to list yourself as sold out unless there is no chance at all that someone else could register after yours.*
If you’re looking to organize an in-person event, keep these tips in mind. Remember that it’s important to be honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses—and then use them to your advantage!