How to organize an event: A 15 Step Checklist for Success

How to organize an event: A 15 Step Checklist for Success
Yana Zatsarnaya
November 11, 2021
Last updated: November 11, 2021

Organizing, planning, and executing an event takes a lot of attention to detail, effort, and hard work. Regardless of the occasion or the purpose, it’s important to make sure that everything is in place and all the participants are engaged and your goal is achieved to great success. Where does one begin, though? There are just too many things to think about.

 

It can look daunting from afar but if you have a checklist of everything that you need to do leading up to, during, and after the event. If you’re at a loss as to where and how to start, you’ve come to the right place. We bring you a 15-step checklist for success on how to organize an event.

 

1. Set the goal/Find an occasion

 

Knowing the why is a good starting point. Whether it’s a launch of a new product, a joint venture with other businesses or the community, or a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary no milestone is too small for hosting an event, even a virtual one, at that. Keep in mind that your checklist for a face-to-face event is the same when you need to organize a virtual event.

 

Whatever your purpose for the event, it’s important to highlight it because that’s where the inspiration for everything else will come from. Your theme, agenda, and program will be dictated by your purpose, goal, or occasion for the event. Finding and settling on one is the basis.

 

2. Know your audience

 

The next important item on the list is your audience or your pool of attendees. Who are the people that you want at your event? Whether it’s an actual event or you want to organize a virtual event, planning for your audience or attendees is essential in making sure they will be engaged during the event and pleased with the outcome.

 

Apart from coming up with a program that piques everyone’s interest, you also need to plan for what your audience is actually interested in. Doing this will not only make your audience glad that they were there but knowing that you highlighted what they find significant at your event will make them want to not miss your next one.

 

3. Pick a date, time and venue

 

If you’re organizing a work event, studies show that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to schedule one in because they’re right in between. You get to avoid busy Mondays when people are just getting ready for the week ahead and you’re avoiding the rush to end the workweek on Fridays. For personal events, any day you pick for your special purpose will do.

 

As for the time of day, make sure it’s not too early and not too late so people have enough time to prepare for the event and get to the venue or get set up if you organize a virtual event. Choose a venue that’s easy to get to for actual events. Having the schedule and venue locked is also a good time to plan your menu whether you plan to serve food and drinks once things get underway.

 

4. Choose a platform

 

Should you need to organize a virtual event, you need to have a lock on a platform you will be using. Here are some of the criteria that you can use to help you select the right one for your purpose:

 

●      It’s free – You don’t want to burden your audience with the burden of having to purchase virtual event software that they need to use.

●      It’s online – Some people feel iffy about having to download or install anything unless they absolutely have to, so pick a virtual event software that’s web-based and easily accessible.

●      It’s reliable – There’s nothing worse than choppy audio or pixelated video especially when you’re onto something significant or interesting.

●      It’s got enough room – Nothing puts a damper on the spirit of things than putting a cap on the number of attendees as some virtual event software tend to do so pick one that allows an unlimited number of users on at the same time.

●      It’s easy to use – You and your guests should not have to spend more than the necessary amount of time setting up your tools. Select a platform that doesn’t require any complicated processes or commands.

 

When you plan digital events, it’s good to have ready software to use and recommend to attendees if needed. One of the more popular online communication platforms is Bitrix24. Whether what you need is high-definition video conferencing, crisp audio calling, or instant messaging, you’ll find the solution with Bitrix24. It’s free to use as well!

 

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5. Craft your invite

 

This should be in threes: the “save the date” or pre-invitation, the invitation, and the post-event invite (more on that later).

The pre-invitation should contain certain information while being vague enough to be able to capture the interest of your potential attendees. It should generate a buzz and curiosity about your event, prompting people to decide subconsciously if they will make time for it or not.

 

The invitation itself should have all the details pertaining to the event, whether it’s a virtual or real one with a venue. There should also be a space to RSVP and they can send it back to you with the confirmation or you can confirm their attendance or regret over the phone.

The post-event invite is more of a thank-you card but with a promise to include them in the guest list of your future events.

 

6. Finalise your guest list

 

By this point, you pretty much have an idea of the people who will most likely be at your event. Consider the venue or the level of intimacy that you want in your function whether it’s an actual one or you want to plan an online event. Some people want smaller, more special groups of people like family and friends for personal events while you can go as big as necessary for business functions.

 

One of the most useful among event planning tips for work-related functions is to take into account the trajectory of your business. Be sure to include one-time customers that you want to entice back, loyal and potential customers as well as clients.

 

7. Leverage social media

 

Generate an even bigger buzz for your event and a sense of FOMO by using social media. Create a page, teasers, flaunt your products, and give people a glimpse of what they can expect at the event. You can also showcase your loot bags and their contents along with some inspiration for the theme and other fun stuff.

 

Social media is also a good way to answer questions about your event so people know what to expect. You can also confirm attendance using the event page, provide directions to the venue or invite suggestions for topics that your attendees wish for you to cover. Once you’re done with the teasers, you can send out the invites, taking note of your social media followers who’ve expressed their interest.

 

8. Confirm your attendees

 

After sending out your invitations, allow your invitees enough time to respond. Some of them might need to move some things in their calendars around so they can accommodate your event so do be patient and understanding. You can call them to follow-up on their response but make sure you give them enough time after receiving your invite and before the event itself.

 

If what you want is to organize a virtual event, make sure your attendees are clear about the date and time of the event. Be sure they also have a link to the event that they can click on to attend and remind everyone to be ready and all set-up at least 5 minutes before you’re scheduled to begin.

 

9. Plan for engagement

 

Don’t expect your guests to just sit and listen. One of the event planning tips to ensure that you have a successful one is to engage your audience so make sure you leave room for a Q&A, pop quizzes, games, and other activities.

 

You can limit it to one or two exercises but it’s important to loop your guests in whether it’s a face-to-face event or you want to organize a virtual event. Doing this will make it a memorable one and people will want to be at your events time and time again.

 

10. Finalize your program or agenda

 

With your guest list, all squared away, it’s time to tackle your program. There are a lot of templates that you can use online for this purpose but of course, you can also wing it if there’s a certain flow that you want your program to have. How to organize a virtual event also includes taking note of key speakers, items or products that you want to highlight, and other things or people that you want to feature.

 

There might also be some guests who would want to have their time to shine and get involved so, if you can, make allowances in your program for such. Just be careful that it doesn’t go on for too long or that things appear unconnected or uncoordinated. Otherwise, you will risk boring your guests or losing their interest.

 

11. Conduct a practice run

 

Another one of the more sound event planning tips is to do a trial run – of everything – the flow of your program, the seating chart, how the food will be served, how the loot bags will be given out, and more. You need to see how everything goes together and make changes or adjustments if necessary.

 

You can also use this time to reconfirm with suppliers, contributors, and sponsors that everything is greenlit and should be ready at “go” time. If you have agreements, make sure they are signed and notated before the big day.

 

12. Ready your backups

 

If you’re planning for success, you should also plan for failure. That is, things breaking down, being late, or not showing up at all. If you plan an online event, make sure you also plan for power outages, ISP loss of connection, and hardware malfunction. It might be frightening to envision but picturing how things can go wrong will help you come up with solutions even before they’re needed.

 

Make sure you have a list of backups at the ready. If you have a team working with you, delegate a backup to one person so you have someone at the ready to contact or set-up your backup while you’re doing your best to appear unbothered and composed to your participants.

 

13. Send out reminders

 

Like it or not, life gets in the way, and sometimes, people, events, and places get forgotten especially in emergencies. While you can’t possibly tear people away from certain circumstances that require their attention, you can secure a slot in their calendar by sending them a reminder about your upcoming event even after they’re confirmed their attendance.

 

You can include the dress code, time, and directions or, if you plan digital events, the meeting link that they need to access to get in. How to organize a virtual event involves you being able to anticipate everything and anything and sending out reminders before the date eliminates unnecessary drama and chaos on the day itself.

 

14. Be fun, engaging and thorough

 

This is it: it’s game time. Every little detail has been planned up to this point but it’s important to take note of a few things. You may be running the show but it’s essential to keep things light and fun, engage your guests and, if needed, check for their understanding. If you have a Q&A session after your event, ask them questions as well to make sure all of the points that you discussed have been understood.

 

It’s not a good thing if your participants walk away looking confused or feeling as though they missed something. Make sure the event ends on a high note by being the consummate host who is funny and lighthearted but engrossing and authentic.

 

15. Follow through

 

Whether it’s a personal or a business-related event, the follow-through is crucial in building on the momentum gained from your just-concluded function. Special events are a great way to invite potential clients or customers to give your services or products a try. How to organize a virtual event also means being able to close the day’s proceedings and thanking everyone for making the time.

 

Additionally, you can send out post-event thank-you cards or hampers to show your appreciation. For businesses, you can give away discount coupons or free trial vouchers so your participants can see that what you’re offering is just as great as you said it would be. Taking this extra step in expressing your gratitude will leave its mark on your participants and they would not want to miss your future events at all.

 

Our giveaway

 

Event planning is a huge undertaking and should not be treated lightly. However, done right, you can be sure to reap the rewards for a long time to come. You might even have people come to you asking for event planning tips and suggestions for how to organize a virtual event.

 

If you want to make a splash but are unsure of how and where to begin, we hope this list is more than enough to guide you through and lead you to awesome success. There’s nothing better than bringing people together for memorable, enjoyable, and remarkable events.

 

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