I have organised several events, sometimes as a manager, but on many occasions as part of a team where each individual is given the responsibility to accomplish a given task. Speaking from experience, I can tell you with absolute certainty that organising events isn’t a picnic! For one, it needs a resilient personality to put things in order.

After years of achieving successes and witnessing some failures, I never take for granted the usefulness of having an event checklist. Personally, I call it the ‘manager’s peace-of-mind plan’ due to the fact that all activities of the event are aligned and reflected on the checklist. Written down is every single event activity in sequence of execution. Checklists can be written in many different formats as long as they are easy to understand and followed up by the team.

Recently I found out that there are even more detailed checklists that start from the very beginning during the planning stages to the end, when the last guest has departed the venue and during the evaluation process. This type of checklist can be lengthy and needs an individual who has a critical eye for details. But although it seemed like endless work, I was more than pleased with my mentor for taking me through the journey. I could literally place people’s movements on this piece of paper. That’s what an events checklist should do for you; provide an instant awareness of what is happening and what everybody is doing, as well as what the priority activities are.

It is also a constant reminder. When each action is added to an events list, it’s hard to forget. All activities have to be executed otherwise it will just be another undone plan. That is why if the event requires a team then it would be better to allocate activities per person and hold them accountable. If it’s a one person job then constantly view the checklist and evaluate yourself on a daily basis. Then see what has been achieved and what has not. If the activities have not been achieved then it’s the events manager’s responsibility to see that all is completed before the event.

Yes, event planning is a stressful job and that is why it’s advisable to start planning as early as possible, like a month or even more beforehand, so that you have ample time to look at everything in its totality. The checklist could include things like; meetings with service providers, trainings, dry runs, deliveries, air/road travels, speeches and so many other things.
When used properly, you cannot go wrong with an events checklist, because you can even have a Plan B in case it rains!

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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