How do we get all of these people together at one time? This is the tricky part. This is where great event planning comes in with a fantastic theme that is, most importantly, implementable within budget, leverages the right location and is scheduled for the perfect date and time for guests and vendors to attend.
Every party or event we throw has a strategy behind it, and this is where a tiered guest list comes in handy. Depending on who we want at our events we skew the event to that specific group’s particular palette. This is where a deep understanding of our audience becomes crucial. If we want to invite top executives of a financial tech company, we’re going to choose a much more intimate gathering of high-level CEOs of various companies and make sure that this is an event whose value and takeaways are demonstrable for that cohort of people (for instance, a one-on-one conversation with Guy Kawasaki). Knowing the difference between that type of event and a party where a group of partners and other connections want to mingle and enjoy themselves amidst a large-scale event makes all the difference between success and failure.
Among the most important decisions an event planner has to make is choosing the right venue. It determines how much work you’re going to have to put in. Some venues are all-in one for a price and for convenience that works, like a restaurant or bar, but to have a more custom event you’re going to need to find one that meets your theme, like an old drive in theater, underground garage or restored historic home or ranch. Budget will help you decide what you can and can’t do.
Invitations. This is they key to a successful event. People are busy, so don’t invite people last minute, especially the media. Send “save the dates” to those you really want there, complete with a personal note, as soon as you know the details. Then send the invitation to the general group and follow up. Make sure that all the specifics and details are in the copy of the invite and that you have a general description of what is expected. Include the vendors that are donating their time and products. If you need to ask about dietary needs or have to to gather information about guests, then ensure you ask these questions in the RSVP. The more you know early on, the better your event will be.
One important thing that is often overlooked, yet is as important as every other aspect of event planning, is knowing your guest list. Make a face sheet of images of the guests and hold a meeting with your staff so they’re familiar with the attendees, what they do and what their interests are so they introduce attendees to each other and facilitate conversations. You could be standing next to the CEO of a rising startup yet pass them right by and miss a glorious opportunity for an introduction if you’re not familiar with the guest list.
Lastly, enjoy your event! If you’re running around with your head cut off, no one will have a good time. Remain cool and calm so that’s how your guests remember you.