Your Guide to Event Planning

We know you’ve already earned a reputation for keeping things running smoothly in the office. Now it’s time to take your skills as a manager of details to the next level. 

Consider this your event planning checklist for administrative assistants: 10 steps full of essential tools, expert tips and best practices to execute events with a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking to learn more on how to plan a corporate event, how to plan a virtual event, or just how to plan an event in general – get ready to take event planning from stress, to a seamless celebration!

Let’s get started.

Step 1. Define the Objectives. This is the cornerstone of successful corporate event planning. You’re laying the foundation for every decision and action to come, and building a path toward success. Ask yourself, what are we trying to achieve? Who is the target audience? How does this event align with the overall mission of the executive? When clear objectives are in place, you’ll be better equipped to make strategic choices, allocate resources effectively, and create an event that not only meets expectations – it exceeds them.

Step 2. Determine the Event Type and Scope. Whether it’s a conference, a seminar, workshop or social gathering – you’ll need to take into consideration size, duration and target audience. For example, a large-scale event might require more logistics including attendee size, audio-visual facilities, and in general – a bigger budget. A smaller office gathering is less formal, and can be tailored to the specific group that works there. By identifying the type of event and scope you’ll be able to focus your efforts on crafting an experience that aligns perfectly with goals, and brings clarity to guide you through the rest of the event planning process.

Step 3. Create a Budget. This one requires a good, hard look at every possible expense. Venue rental, catering, decorations, marketing and other relevant costs – they can all add up and either make or break your efforts. Make a list, and continuously track your expenses throughout event planning to ensure you stay within the allocated budget.

Step 4. Develop a Timeline. Outlining all the tasks and deadlines leading up to the event can give a broad picture of what is already done, what needs to be done, and yes – give peace of mind that you’ve tackled every last to-do. This timeline should include pre-event planning, marketing and promotion, logistics, and post-event activities. Assign responsibilities and set realistic deadlines for each task, so that you’re not rushing every detail at the last minute.

Step 5.  Select a Venue. Take another look at your event objectives. How many people? What is the budget? You’ll want to consider factors like location, accessibility, amenities and technical requirements. We recommend visiting the venue in person, if possible, to ensure it meets your needs. Sometimes the internet just doesn’t give an accurate picture, and it’s always better to know exactly what you’re signing up for.

Step 6. Coordinate with Vendors and Suppliers. Once you’ve got the game plan ready to go, it’s time to scout partners to make it all happen. Source reputable vendors like catering, audio-visual equipment, decorations, transportation, and any other requirements specific to your event. Compare prices and/or packages, negotiate contracts, and ensure all agreements are documented in writing. (Doing so will provide a clear reference point and reduce the risk of disputes or misunderstandings later on.) Also pay close attention to terms and conditions, including payment schedules, cancellation policies, and any potential additional charges.

Step 7. Plan and Manage Logistics. Consider the duration of the event, and plan a sequence accordingly. You’ll want to lay out activities, speakers, presentations and breaks. Make sure you allocate appropriate time for each segment to ensure a smooth flow.  Seating arrangements, registration process, signage, parking facilities, technical set-up – this should all be studied ahead of time to ensure that everything is in place before the event starts, and that all necessary resources are available. Keep open lines of communication with your vendors as well; being able to touch base and confirm that everything is on track will help build a strong relationship and foster a sense of collaboration and mutual support.

Step 8. Promote the Event. Get the word out! This will create awareness and attract attendees. Utilize various channels such as social media, email marketing, press releases, and partnerships with relevant organizations. Make sure you’re monitoring the registration process and keeping track of RSVPs. 

Step 9.  Coordinate On-Site Activities. On the day of the event, make sure you’re present to oversee the set-up, registration process and manage any last-minute changes or issues. Double check that all vendors and staff are aware of their responsibilities, and that the event runs smoothly. Those open lines of communication you established early on will pay off here!

Step 10. Gather Feedback and Evaluate. After the event, circle back and collect feedback from attendees, sponsors, and stakeholders. Inspect the success of the event based on the objectives defined from the very beginning. What went well? What didn’t? Identify areas for improvement, and document any lessons learned for future events.

Take each step one at a time, and know that your excellent organizational skills and attention to detail will pay off in a seamless, memorable event. This list is just one of the many resources available within The Admin Community. Join now, and explore all the ways you can expand your professional career!