So, you’ve worked hard on all the preparations, you’re all set for the ‘big day’ and you’re ready for the event you’ve thought about every day for months prior.
You may be experiencing a slight element of nerves or pressure to ensure the event is a huge success; all those long hours and countless e-mails amount to being on-site. Nonetheless, it’s easy to overlook your potential challenges you may face while running the event live. Take a read through of the below hints and tips to assist in minimising some of the most common challenges you may face.
1. Your Time. As the main organiser of an event, your time is precious. This means your time management is crucial to the success of carrying out your role effectively. Arrive early to your venue. Leave yourself ample time and have the mindset of ‘that will be enough time’ rather than ‘that should be enough time’. We all know that when arriving on-site, unforeseen issues arrive. Creating the time to solve these by arriving generously early it will minimise the pressure on you.
Moreover, don’t underestimate how long tasks may take to complete. Be realistic. Packing delegate bags takes a substantial amount more time than most think for example. Take a second to think logically. For tasks that will take time, start early. There’s no need to work until 2am before a 6am start if you don’t have to.
When running the event, you will get pushed and pulled in every direction. You cannot manage every task and do it efficiently, so ensure you have a trusted team to support you. Don’t be afraid to delegate. It’s quicker for you to delegate a role and then provide your approval upon inspection than it is to carry out every role yourself. This frees up your time to manage all your other tasks you need to do yourself. It’s better to have a team to large than a team too small. Again, think ‘this will be enough people’ not ‘this should be enough’.
2. Working with the venue. In conjunction with arriving early, ensure you have set a pre-event meeting organised with the relevant staff from the venue / supplier(s). Meet on your set up day, or the day prior. This meeting allows you to vocalise all elements of the event. Use the opportunity to emphasise the key areas and any concerns you have plus ask the relevant questions. Define your expectations from an early stage to ensure you’re all on the same page for your Conference or Product Launch.
You can also ask the questions with regards to the challenges we commonly face on site. Have you found that finding staff during the event is an issue previously? Ask for a phone and direct dial. Locate their offices and kitchen. Get the food out quicker? Ask for it to be out 15 minutes before and get them to change the times in front of you. Worried about short-staffing? Ask about numbers and how your team can assist in any way. Room temperatures an issue? Ask what measures are in place, for example is their maintenance man on-site? Establish if they have any spare fans or cooling systems. Ask us here at Hippo for any advice you may wish to seek.
Try your best to predict potential challenges. Use your experiences from previous events to put a place in place there and then with the Operations Manager sat in front of you. If you are running over or under on the agenda, communicate this to the venue as soon as you know. The stronger and more regular the communication the better for both parties.
3. Supervising delegates. We all know asking a large quantity of delegates to follow the same instructions can be tricky at times. Smoking, toilet breaks, e-mails, phone calls, private conversations etc. all change the directions of delegates. Before we know it, they’re all over the place. Whilst a common challenge on-site, this is all about pre-planning.
Research your venue prior to know all areas. Have a means of communication in place; a PA system, potentially in numerous locations. PA systems allow endless announcements that communicate to everyone – a human voice usually works better than a message on a screen and is certainly quicker than your event team asking each cluster of delegates to ‘move through to the next session’. Saying that, if that’s what it requires, ensure your team is large enough to cope.
Think about signage. Define and clearly mark the areas the delegates can go. Statistically there will be smokers – designate where they must go. For a business event, chances are there will be phone calls and e-mails – provide a designated area for this. Minimise the risk of the delegates spreading by planning your space(s) carefully.
If there is a particular problem you are encountering or need to vocalise something to all delegates, see if you can do this at the end of one session. This can be done in an extremely professional and polite way, for example, stating how long the lunch break is and the importance of keeping to time or if the coffee break is only a ‘grab and go’.
Hippo offer an Event Project Management service, which includes our presence on-site, so we can manage these elements on your behalf.