24 June 2015

Are you thinking about, or in the middle of organising an event for your organisation?  Its hard work isn’t it?

To ease the pain a little, here’s some valuable guidance from Tom Bircham, well known for his events management at Nwes.

Work out what you want to get from your event

  • What is the aim of your event, what do you want to accomplish?
  • Set goals to measure the success of the event
  • How many people you want to attend?
  • Is this a solo event or would you like to work with partners?
  • Dates/timings; is there going to be networking and a presentation, if so make sure there is plenty of time for both
  • Prepare a budget
  • Who are your target market and where are they based?
  • Are you doing a presentation and will you need a projector and screen?
  • Is it going to be free to attend or will there be a small charge?

Find a suitable venue

  • Can it accommodate the number of people you want to invite
  • Does it fit your budget? Will it match your return on investment
  • Do they supply all refreshments (tea, coffee and water being the minimum requirement)
  • Is there parking?
  • Do they have wifi?
  • Do they have their own audio visual equipment?
  • Visit the venue, it makes a big difference to how you feel on the day if you are already familiar with your surroundings
  • Do you need to book it for a full day of half day?

Use eventbrite

  • Set up a page on eventbrite – this is a event hosting service, it is free if you a running a free event or they take a small percentage of any charge you make for a paid for event
  • If you don’t have an account you will need to create one by clicking on the sign up button
  • Once you have set up your account you can create a new event by clicking on the create event button
  • You will be required to add all of the details about the event including a short description. There is also the option to add an image if you have one
  • You will also need to create a ticket for the event and the form that potential attendees will need to fill out. Remember to add all the contact details you require – name, email address, telephone and company name should be a minimum
  • Once you have filled out all of the areas click on the preview button to see how the event looks, if you are happy with this then you can click to make it live
  • Make sure you take note of the web link to your event so you can use it in the promotion

Marketing the event

  • Send an email out to your database of contacts; make it personal so they know it is you who is running the event. Make sure you include a link.
  • Use a Bitly link. Sign up for an account and you can create custom links that can be monitored to see how many people have clicked on them
  • Create a twitpic; this can be done in PowerPoint and saved as a jpg. Tweets and Facebook posts with images often get more views so it is worth posting a picture
  • Create a scheduled Twitter plan for your event, when tweeting remember to include your twitpic and ideally your Bitly link to eventbrite. You should aim for at least three tweets a week leading up the event and daily tweets when you get to within a week
  • Add a weekly post about your event on LinkedIn complete with your twitpic and link
  • See if the local newspaper has an events diary that you can add your event to
  • Are there any local business organisations that could help you promote the event to their database?
  • If you are co-hosting the event ask your partners to promote it on their social media accounts and email their contacts
  • Mention your event at other networking events or groups you go to

Prior to the event

  • If you are co-hosting an event make sure you get the partners PowerPoint slides in advance and put them on both your laptop and a memory stick to take with you on the day
  • Plan the timings; who will do what when?
  • Create a form that you can take along to the event to take down attendee’s contact details
  • Make a list of everything you need to take with you

Room layout

  • Make sure refreshments are not placed near the entrance to the room as this creates a bottle neck when people arrive
  • Make sure you have a registration table at the entrance to take down attendee’s contact details
  • Ideally have an area for networking and seating for the presentation is you are giving one
  • Make sure everything is set up, ready to go well in advance of guests arriving
  • Put a business card and any marketing literature on the chairs to make sure everyone gets a copy

At the event

  • Get there early, to give yourself plenty of time to set up and to familiarise yourself with the layout
  • Meet and greet your guests as they arrive and ask them to fill out the contact details sheet
  • If there is more than one of your while one greets people the other should be making sure everyone is comfortable and chat to attendees
  • Introduce yourself and any other speakers to the audience before the presentation
  • Keep your presentation snappy and to the point, 10-15 minutes is the ideal time, after this people start to lose concentration
  • Make sure you allow plenty of time for questions
  • Try and speak to every attendee as a face-to-face meeting makes following up much easier

Follow up

  • Give your visitors a call the following day to see whether they have any questions or need some further information
  • If you can’t get hold of them on the telephone send an email thanking them for coming and giving them your contact details in case they have any further questions
  • Persevere with the follow ups, if you don’t hear back send a second email or make a second phone call
  • What were your goals, did you achieve them? If not, what could you do differently next time?

So …. what are you waiting for?  Good luck!

Nwes Premises has a great selection of meeting rooms and conference facilities available to hire.  For details call the individual centres or search the facilities on our website.

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