Recently, I was part of a team that organised a high profile event that almost turned out to be catastrophic, this was due to a ‘small’ factor that we the organising committee didn’t pay much attention to during the early stages of planning & preparation.
As we got to the event venue, just an hour to the event, we realised that the event set up arrangement was wrong for the type of event we had in mind. We had planned a cocktail set up for an evening black tie thematic, that probably would have been better with a dinner set up. This event was held during a weekday which meant the audience was already tired from their work day activities. This ‘small’ factor was significant enough for us to know that we needed to make last minute changes.

Every event comes with its expectations, goals, challenges and this one was no exception to the rule.
There are several different event types to consider; from conferences, trade fairs, media launches , birthdays , weddings , shareholder meeting , award ceremonies , business dinners , networking events ,team building events , theme parties ,award ceremonies ,board meetings etc . All these events types have different set up arrangements that must be agreed upon from plan stage to execution.
For an event to be successful, the organisers need to know the kind of people they are preparing to host. The difference between your guests sitting and standing during the event, really does matter more than one may expect. Therefore, for good results one needs to study the mood of the time of day and behaviour of your expected guests at the respective event types.

This can be done by attending events where your target audience could possibly be to help you with insights on how to organise a similar event in the future that will drive the agenda smoothly.
The event type will also help you understand how to coordinate the different activities that you will execute at the event.
You will be able to tell what comes first and last. If your serving drinks, food, speeches and presentations. Never assume the way the event looks on paper is the same way it will look during execution, be prepared for any outcome thus the need to plan and discuss the different activities to be executed.

Also to add, it’s important to know the ‘objective’ of the event, as it is key in identifying the type of event you are to organise. For instance if it’s a strategy meeting where presentations have to be projected then you event set requirements will differ from a networking event. When organising an event you should bear in mind all outcomes. As an event manager be prepared for anything, and remember if the event isn’t going as planned try to remain calm. Event proceedings can be hectic at times but thinking outside the box and staying organised are a necessity. When you get the event type right, for the right audience then chances are it will be a blissful event.

About the Author: Immaculate Namanda

Immaculate has a solid grounding in account management. She knows the market, with skills in strategic positioning, media and client relations together with project coordination and management. Prior to joining WMC Africa, she headed media relations, brand positioning, strategic writing, CSI initiatives and events management at the Alam Group.

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