Running the gauntlet of event management

From planning to execution, event management is cluttered with land-mines and it’s only the skillful event manager who’s able to navigate a safe path around them all. It can be helpful to identify the most common challenges so that you can be on the lookout for them. And it’s understanding the nature of the game that will help you sense the oncoming missiles that tend to come in below the radar…

The challenges facing event managers are numerous, from attracting attendees, to dealing with non-delivery, to liaising with non-communicative clients … there’s a great multiplicity of big and small decisions that all together determine the success or failure of an event. Here are a few of the most common challenges event managers face…

Invitees don’t RSVP and other registration woes

Guests are notoriously lax when it comes to RSVPing for an event; those that do RSVP ‘yes’ might not show up while those who didn’t send a formal RSVP could show up and expect to be included. The use of diplomacy is essential when chasing up on RSVPs. Strategic reminders and incentives, such as discounts or seating perks, can sometimes be usefully employed to encourage prompt replies.

At the end of the day however, event coordinators need to anticipate that numbers on the day of the event may well not match the numbers in your record, and so catering for a few additional guests is an essential. Software like The RSVP Agency’s online event registration solution is a helpful tool for managing this complex process, from the invitations, to RSVP reminders, call-downs and last-minute cancellations, The RSVP Agency’s online RSVP software ensures a strategic and professional approach when it comes to ensuring the best possible event attendance.

Knowing how to create a meaningful, fluid and engaging agenda

Event coordinators need to pitch an event to the given guest list and also plan content that meets the purpose of the event, whether that purpose is having a fun 50th birthday party or presenting the annual marketing plan to employees.

Tailoring events to the guest list involves setting the right start time of your event according to the lifestyle of your attendees, creating a menu that suits the general dietary preference, hiring a band that’s suitable for your particular audience , and other such considerations. It can get tricky however when ages are mixed, cultural tastes are diverse, and attendees might not know each other.

A seemingly ‘small’ detail in the overall scheme of things – something like the seating plan – can in fact mean the difference between guests genuinely enjoying themselves, or not at all.

With regards to the flow of an event, the event manager is responsible, together with his or her team, for ushering people and seeing that everyone is seated and looked after. It’s the event manager’s role to ensure that there are no awkward or boring pauses between scheduled items, keeping track of time, and seamlessly moving between items on the agenda so that the event flows correctly.

How to deliver a memorable event within budget

The good event coordinator is able to stay within budget while still meeting the expectations of the client. Sometimes this involves tactfully helping the client to refocus the event strategy or objectives. A Little Black Book of cost-saving venues and service-providers is also a good start; while finely tuned bargaining skills, and an extensive network will ensure your event is a memorable one within budget.

Remember to ask your client the right questions to find out what is most important to them about the event, and then creatively work around those goals to make them happen within budget. Communication with your client is crucial to a successful event.

Having to deal with the unexpected

Even with the most thorough of preparations, some things might still go wrong on the day and it’s the event manager’s role to ensure a solution for these unforeseen circumstances. A plan B for weather is a fundamental element of event planning. In Johannesburg, having a back up generator in case of a power outage is always a good idea. Extra seating, additional entertainment and a well thought out event itinerary can help you avoid unnecessary issues.

The most important factor is to remain calm and take charge in an unexpected situation, make sure you have a good relationship with all of your suppliers, and use all your resources in the planning of an event, such as The RSVP Agency’s professional online RSVP solution, to ensure that you are completely organised.