Ten Event Planning Tips for Absolute Beginners

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

New to planning? Read on for some event planning tips for planning newbies!

So you’ve decided to be an event planner. Congratulations, you’ve chosen to work in a vital, diverse, exciting field. And as an event planner, you’ll be at the center of all the action, thinking fast, making decisions, and putting all of your amazing communication and organizing skills to the test. Planning an event is an adventure! But it can also be incredibly stressful. 

There are a million moving parts to an event, and as the planner, you have to be in control of all of them. Your decisions and anticipation of issues affect the experiences of everyone involved, from the speakers and hosts to the vendors and attendees.

If you’re brand new to planning, you could use some event planning tips. We think that there are some things on the list that you haven’t thought of before! Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Don’t cancel that event! Move it online.

Event planning tips for the absolute beginner. 

1. Find the right team.

If you’re new to planning, you might not yet have a team that you work with regularly who know each other and work as a well-oiled machine. So it’s vital at this stage to hire your team carefully. Don’t only focus on the individuals you are interviewing, but think about how they will interact with each other. A team that works well together is invaluable to a planner, which is why this is one of our most important event planning tips.

2. Do your research.

Before beginning work on any event, you have to make sure that you are an expert in the event’s theme or industry so you can make decisions accordingly. It is also very important to familiarize yourself with the audience who will be attending because they are the ones who your marketing will be directed towards. 

3. Delegate intelligently.

You can’t be thoughtless when you are delegating tasks to your team. If you aren’t careful about what tasks you’re giving to whom, you risk overloading key team members with too many tasks or getting the wrong person to do something vital. Make sure you know your team and are familiar with their particular skills and strengths.

4. Start marketing early.

Marketing by itself is a huge, complicated machine, and marketing today involves several layers of advertising that must all interact with each other. Not only do you have to coordinate social media posts, but you also need to think about mail-outs, brochures, newspaper inserts, and radio spots. There are so many components and kinks to work out of your marketing plan, that it is best to start working on it early; from several months to a year prior to the event.

Are you a speaker? Now is the time to let the world know that you can present virtually

5. Budget thoroughly.

Your budget needs to be exhaustive, including all particulars, contingencies, and overruns. No matter how great your event goes on the floor, going way over budget is never a good look.

6. Deal in detailed contracts.

When you are creating and signing contracts with vendors, guests, and speakers, you need to make sure they include any and all details that account for all situations. If you pay attention to the details at the contract stage of an agreement and get them in writing, you are protecting yourself from costly and awkward mishaps.

7. Keep a comprehensive list.

One of our favorite event planning tips is to keep a comprehensive list that lets you keep track of where you are on your timeline and what needs to get done when. Check out this post for our ultimate event planning checklist!

8. Plan contingencies for everything.

No amount of planning can account for everything. When you are dealing with a many-pronged event with a million different moving parts, it is best that you accept that not everything is going to go according to plan. So a smart, experienced event planner knows that times spent planning for “what could go wrong” is time well spent and will save you huge headaches when you have all your Plan Bs in place.

9. Automate, automate, automate.

One of the benefits of our digital age is that there is a lot that can be automated, from social media updates to data tracking and ticketing. Find out what your options are to make as many repetitive tasks automated as possible, for example using a platform such as Hootsuite to coordinate and track your social media marketing. This will relieve your team to focus on other important responsibilities. 

10. Get feedback.

The event is over. Time to celebrate, right? Nope! Time to mine your attendees for valuable feedback on everything from the keynote speech to the food. After-the-event feedback is invaluable data for your next event, so make sure you reach out to attendees promptly, before they forget about their experiences at your event, and record your important learnings.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

45 event planning event industry terms that every planner should know.
7 tips to save money when planning an event.
Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable.