Planning an event is a juggling act. The following tips provide a basic checklist so that you can always make sure you are on track.


1. Build good relationships

Your event may take place in a stadium, hotel, restaurant, beach… wherever it is, there will be someone you will be liaising with at the venue. Make sure you start off this relationship positively. Once the event is confirmed, send your contact an email to say how much you are looking forward to working with them to make it a success. This simple task will pay huge dividends when it comes to the real nitty gritty of organizing the event. It is also vital if you are not able to visit the venue before the event takes place. It can also benefit you in the future. Who knows, that Event Manager could well be the one deciding on your minimum spend for next year’s event.


2. Make sure that all costs are confirmed in advance

Your event has been a huge success! Your boss is thrilled and all your guests have enjoyed themselves. But there are several items that have been charged that you didn’t agree to. So what happens? Your EPP rockets, and you spend the next three days arguing and trying to find out what happened and destroy the good relationship you have built with your Event Manager in the process. This is avoidable by making sure everything is costed out in advance, in writing.


3. If it has electricity running through it… allow double time.

If you are using anything that involves an electrical socket: a laptop, a screen and projector, a live band, video conferencing, PA system… allow double the amount of time you are advised, or feel you should need, for set up and sound check. Even if you have organised this particular set up a million times in twenty other countries… take my word for it; the one instance you allow the amount of time it should require, will be the time it runs late*.


4. Size matters.

It is a common misconception that a smaller event takes less time and effort to organize than a large one. This is categorically untrue! I have often spent many more hours on a smaller, more intimate event where people’s eyes are drawn to detail and there is no room for error. Allow yourself enough time to plan a small event – don’t be fooled into think twenty people will be less hassle than two hundred. It won’t always be the case!


5. Pretend to be a guest.

When your final plans are almost in place; put yourself in the perspective of one of your guests and walk through the event. If it is possible to do this at the venue, even better. If not – take a few minutes to think through the event as a guest would arrive: will someone greet you, where would you hang your coat, will there be signage, name tags, would you enjoy the menu, have your special dietary requirements been catered for, is enough (or not enough) time allowed for each element and aspect of the event. Ultimately, if you would enjoy it and think it was well planned – so will your guests.


*Remember Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong (I think this law was discovered when the first USB stick was put into a laptop moments before a presentation).


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Tania Tulen is an international PA with over ten years experience. She has worked in London, Paris, NY and is currently living and working in Singapore. Having provided support to some of the most demanding and successful entrepreneurs and start ups, she now works for the world's largest law firm.

Tania Tulen

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