There’s nothing more depressing than spending a ton of money and endless hours planning an event which turns into a total “non-event” because of the lack of attendance. Empty chairs are probably the biggest nightmare for event planners.
Every event needs the right agenda
Events range from meetings to corporate events and may include weddings, parties, and fundraising for charity. The list doesn’t end there! Let’s face it, event planning is dynamic and the playing field changes almost daily.
There has been a fundamental shift in the way attendees’ gather information about events, making it important for event planners to use and leverage social media to achieve the best coverage.
What is an Event Agenda?
The Agenda is the fundamental underpinning of your event. Everything you need to plan and organize for, will come from this one source. It must become the home base for everyone on the team to find information relating to catering, audio-visual requirements, sessions, activities, run-sheets and everything else that has to be put together for a successful event.
Important things to know about an event agenda
- As the heart and foundation of every function, and there are several important things to know about this event blueprint, and what it can do for you if done the right way.
- Manage every aspect of the upcoming event from a single location
- It forms an interactive role; allows automatic updates of function and session details
- Coordinate, create and control: sessions, services, and activities
- Admin and Operations: run-sheet jobs, sponsor information and promo materials, audio-visual equipment, etc.
- Instant updates when changes are made; keeps everyone on the team fully aware of daily dynamics.
- Agenda information is the beating heart and can be posted in the Attendee App and on the event website
Step-by-step guide to creating an effective Event Agenda for the event
The very nature of the event, the attendees, will all be different. They’ll have different needs and aspirations about what the event will entail. Making an agenda is the brainstorming part at the start and gives everyone something to work with throughout the process.
Be aware that people procrastinate up to the last minute to register or RSVP, so one of the goals when planning an event and putting the agenda together, is to get people to respond sooner. Having a proper agenda, where your public knows everything there is to know, well in advance, will get a better early registration response.
1. Objectives and Goals for the Event
What is the event in support of, and what do you hope to achieve.
2. The Team
Nothing will be done without a well-oiled team strategy. Identify key members to take responsibility for venue management, sponsors, entertainment, speakers, publicity, and volunteers.
3. The Date
Often dates are preset with recurring events. However, if you’re planning a new function, consider the following before making a firm date:
- School holidays, bank holidays and religious holidays.
- Key speaker/VIP guests, presenters etc. availability
- Venue availability
To get your event to stand out from the crowd, it’s of vital importance to choose a dynamic, topically compelling theme. The name might be the single most important part of marketing – and will become the attention grabber for online social media. Make sure it’s unique, but not obscure.
Tip: when brainstorming an event name make it different from other event names, does it convey what the event is about, and will it be topical enough to “spread the word.” Create a crafty tagline and design a logo that represents everything and is easily recognized for promo items – bags, Tshirts, water bottles, etc.
5. Master Plan (AGENDA dependant)
- Venue, catering, logistics management – permits and contracts, insurance, etc
- Logistics – speakers, VIPs, presenters
- Entertainment and activities
- Publicity and Promotion – every aspect, including website, printing, online promos, signage, and social media
- Sponsor and partner liaison and management
- Registration – sign-up, payments, on-site check in, etc
- Manage Volunteers
6. Admin Processes
Planning, registration, guests, speakers, budgets and funding. Read more on how to organize an admin process.
7. Sponsors and Partners
Call organizations and sponsors – they’re ideal for not only giving time, money and promo items, but they also spread the word through their website and media channels.
Corporations are the best, as they have funding ready for good events and often suggest guest speakers and VIP guests who act as draws for attendees.
Community organizations also make great partners, often assisting with organizing, parking, and staffing.
The promotion and publicity given to the event will determine whether it flies or crashes and burns. Even with the most famous speaker or fantastic entertainment program, it takes an inordinate amount of publicity to get the word out.
Don’t forget to thank everyone after the event by email or with articles about the event’S success.
Where master plan meets Agenda!
Include every aspect on the list that has a price tag.
Determine how you can evaluate success. Is it by the number of registrants/attendees, breaking even or making money in the form of donations and sponsorship. When considering goals and objectives, consider how you will evaluate their success.
Mistakes to Avoid
1. Setup Time:
Don’t leave everything to the last minute, or the last day. Remember there’s always “one” thing or person, that goes wrong. Give yourself enough time to make sure that 15 minutes before the doors open, everyone and everything, is in place.
2. Not Enough Help on the Day:
Don’t make labor costs an issue. It’s better to go the extra mile for an event. Budget for more staff than you think you will need on the day. Their services will never be wasted and could make or break your success.
3. Contingency Plan:
Make sure that you have an alternative venue if things go south with the first choice. If you are holding an outdoor event, ensure that you have enough protection in case of some weather. Include heating braziers, as it beats having cold guests. If you are aware that rain could be an issue, send every guest on your list a reminder to bring appropriate seasonal clothing.
Three free good template resources
There’s no doubt that setting the right goals and objectives, having a good team of workers and making the best agenda on the planet, will be rewarded with success. Not only for a single event, but for every event you ever plan and execute.