December 5, 2017
Event planning -- it's equal parts creativity, science, and skill. Without a great vision, you can't make anything happen. On the other hand, if you don't have the know-how to bring it all together, any great idea is lost in the wind. Without a plan to put it all together, everything else is just an idea on paper. When it comes down to it, great event planners all have one thing in common: efficiency.
If you're trying to navigate the event-planning profession, here are a few ways you can become more efficient (and, ultimately, boost your membership base).
Lulls happen in any industry, but the event planning world can be filled with plenty of downtime if you don't plan properly. When things are slow, market yourself like there's no tomorrow. Write blogs, post updates on social media, and let people know what you've been up to. Most importantly, engage with your members. Invite your members to ask questions, thank followers for their feedback, and let them know you're scheduling for networking events ahead of time.
The easiest way to avoid slow periods is to build up anticipation in advance so people snatch up the opportunity to work with a professional who's as highly sought-after as you are. Preemptive planning and scheduling will help you see the big picture and take the stress out of double-duty when the busy season arrives.
In most industries, a business plan is something that's created at the onset, and nobody really deals with it again unless leaders are looking to expand or refinance. Event planning doesn't play the same game. In fact, every new event should be seen as a new business and a fresh opportunity to better yourself.
In other words, consider each contract a new business plan. Know what you need to do, lay out the details, and spec out any potential miscommunications that could cost you money down the road. A little time up front is money in the bank later on.
A great event planner always has his or her phone nearby. This is a do-now-or-do-never industry. When you employ the proper software, you can juggle deadlines, meet members' needs, and hold vendors accountable without referencing a plethora of outdated spreadsheets and scribbled-on notepads.
From big-picture project planning to keeping tabs on the smallest details that will make the biggest impact, you'll want to use software that's specifically designed for event planning if you want to achieve optimal results. Specifically, seek out software that's built with the following elements in mind:
Develop a game plan and put it into project management software so you can easily anticipate bottlenecks and strategize solutions before they become problems.
Formulate your agenda, orchestrate the logistics, and know what resources you need at a quick glance.
Have drop-dead dates at your fingertips so you can follow up with vendors, venues, and members before the clock starts ticking down.
How many members are coming? Who do you still need to account for? Keeping up with registration can take a toll on even the most experienced event planners. The more manual you make this process, the more inefficient you'll be. Instead, opt for an association management software that organizes registration details for you.
Every event—whether it's a wedding or a corporate sales conference—requires a certain amount of promotional material. From save-the-dates to agendas filled with keynote speakers, you'll want to have a go-to place where you can design and publish your collateral. When you've got everything in one software program, you can easily update event details and keep everybody up to speed without worrying about vital information falling through the cracks.
Some event planners can take any type of event and run with it. If you truly want to be as efficient as possible, however, consider specializing in a specific field. Are you an expert at small meet-ups and networking events? ? Go that route! Do you dig massive tradeshows and all of the excitement involved with getting tons of organizations together under one roof? That might be the route you should go. The more specialized you become, the more tricks you'll have up your sleeve as you develop practices that make you more efficient.
An organized event planner is an efficient event planner. Before you start posting sticky notes all over your desk, look for a better way to be more efficient.