Your Event Planning Checklist Needs a Makeover
It’s SUMMER!!! That means event planning, cocktails, graduation parties, company picnic, sunshine, cocktails and…long hours spent haggling with the caterer over whether the cake is white or vanilla.
Um, yeah, everyone LOVES parties but no one wants to plan them. And each year it’s your job to make sure the events you plan run as smooth as Vanilla Ice’s comeback. But let’s face it—your events may not be what they used to be. If no one is talking about them before they happen, chances are they’ve been forgotten.
But there are some simple ways you can jazz up your events this year. So let’s whip out you’re event-planning checklist and let’s give it a makeover.
1. Drop that zero and get a hero.
Yes, you’ve used the same D.J. for six years but just because he’s your cousin doesn’t mean he’s the best choice. Maybe it’s not the D.J.; it could be the caterer or the AV guy or the girl in charge of WiFi… we’re describing the easy-way-out-vendor you pick each year because… well, it’s easy. Try not to short cut your clients and customers with well-meaning but substandard vendor choices.
Branch out and find the best in the category, instead of who is available. Explore your social networks to find testimonials from reputable colleagues about who does what you need well.
2. Shred the paper… Go digital.
It never ceases to amaze me that people still carry their event checklist on clipboards. Look, it’s traditional to have all your event details ensconced in a CSV file but seriously, your event attendees will RSVP, confirm and some even attend online.
Shouldn’t you use technology to plan your event? Go digital with event planning apps that let you organize everything from vendors to venues through your mobile phone.
From Bizzabo to doubledutch, these apps can be your all-in-one go-to assistant for a successful event. Want more? Julius Soloris, who writes awesome stuff over at the Event Manager blog, offers the Event App Bible. It offers listings of the latest event apps available and helps you find the right one for you.
3. Ditch your list and go pro.
Many events fail to achieve event nirvana because event planners fail to see themselves as planning an event. Yeah… read that twice. Some will say they’re just putting together the corporate Christmas party. Others will say they’re just handing out employee awards. But if you’re having something where dozens of people are attending, if you’re choosing vendors, if you’re deciding on details, it’s an event. And you should treat it like one.
Ditch that ancient paper event-planning checklist and upgrade to a project management tool. Project management tools like Basecamp and Asana (run by Facebook founder Dustin Moskovitz) can save you time and eventually money.
They help you get organized and communicate with vendors as well as team members. Be more productive by managing your event like a project.
4. Up your goody bag game.
You want folks talking about your event long before it happens. That means it must be memorable and nothing is more memorable than free stuff. Pens, like Earth Girls, are easy.
Go beyond the typical promotional item giveaway and inject some creativity into your event-planning checklist. Try for at least one memorable goody in your grab bag.
— Forbidden Planet (@ForbiddenPlanet) June 4, 2015
For ideas, check out our blog post about the coolest new tech giveaways in tech or this post about some bizarre yet very memorable promotional marketing items. The trend for 2015? Personalized selfie sticks. (Oh yeah… we sell those.) You can’t go wrong with selfie sticks, right?
5. Cut inefficiency, not party awesomeness.
Inevitably, the top item on your event-planning checklist is your budget. It can be tempting to reduce costs by cutting corners or taking short cuts.
Resist the urge.
Don’t shortchange your event attendees because you’re pinching pennies.
Optimize by getting organized, using technology and transferring your analog doings to digital coolness you’ll free up productivity time to get creative while not breaking the bank.
Some creative party-hopping, yet budget-saving ideas include:
- Digitizing event guides: Printing on paper is so overrated. Send out your event guide by e-mail or app.
- Saving on promotional items: Check out these absolutely amazing giveaways you can buy for less than $1. (Logo’d stress balls anyone?)
- Cutting waste: From food, to paper, to even electronic overload, inefficiency abounds when that event-planning checklist doesn’t include a waste-cutting effort. Conducting a waste audit can help you save money even before you begin planning.
Event Planning Checklist Makeover
Make this event-planning year your most spectacular by giving that event-planning checklist a full-fledged makeover:
☐ Replace tired and worn-out vendors who don’t delight your attendees,
☐ Upgrade your to-do list from Excel to the latest app,
☐ Move your event operations online,
☐ Make your giveaways memorable instead of merely functional and
☐ Cut out waste wherever possible.
Adding these to your event-planning checklist can help make your event the best it’s ever been. Am I missing something? What are your best event planning checklist items?