Organizing an event can often seem like a complicated process for the uninitiated. With so many options available, it’s important to stay on top of your requirements to avoid being overwhelmed. Your first assignment would be to list out, in order of priority, all the aspects of the event that need to be covered. For example, in a corporate team building event, you would want to consider the date of the event, the size of the team, the duration of the event, the ideal location, the setup of a podium and audio-visual equipment, the nature of the exercises, the need for stationary, seating arrangements, enlisting the speakers or group leaders, any other equipment that would assist the exercises, and the need for refreshments and/or meals.
Once you have this information, your first order of business would be to identify the ideal venue that would accommodate all your requirements. If you have a team of six to 12 people, inclusive of the group leaders and speakers, you would avoid the large conference halls and aim for a small boardroom or private lounge. Groups that will be booked throughout the day and would need to be served refreshments and/or a meal would be better suited to a banquet hall or conference room with a buffet table set up in the back. The close proximity of the attendees to each other and the host would create the necessary environment for a team building event.
The need for audio-visual equipment will impact your choice of venue. Open-air venues are best suited to low-key events that do not require projectors for presentations or desks for written exercises. Annual general meetings, sales presentations, or corporate training courses would appear awkward and unseemly if held outdoors. Another option to consider besides the traditional indoor/outdoor venue is room on a chartered yacht, large enough to accommodate your group and the crew. Product launches and PR events that are out to make an impression would find this a good opportunity to be viewed as innovative and set the tone for the event.
If speakers or VIP attendees are travelling long distances to participate in the event, you may want to look into the availability of hotel reservations for them from the time of their planned arrival up to their planned departure. Group reservations usually get better rates. If you continue to use the same venue and hotel for each subsequent event, you can expect to be offered discounts or other rewards as a show of appreciation. When considering the best rates, it’s best to choose a hotel in close proximity to the event venue to cut down on time spent commuting. This is particularly useful if the event spans several days, as in the case of exhibitions and conventions, where attendees are required to be present from morning to late evening.
Once the venue has been reserved, the refreshments/menus have been selected, and the attendees have all been confirmed, you can go about looking into the finer details of the event. If it’s a team building event, you would need to speak with the group leaders to get the specifics of their requirements for their presentations. If someone intends on running a slide projector, you need to know how much lead time they need to get set up, whether they have their own assistants or would need help, whether they have any special instructions, such as handing out leaflets or other items, and so on. If a speaker requires 15 to 20 minutes to get set up, it would be more appropriate for his presentation to follow a break for refreshments, so as not to keep the audience waiting. Any preparation that lasts longer than five minutes, even following a brilliant presentation, would disrupt the momentum, and an audience that has lost interest can be difficult to reengage. In a team building event, seminar, or training event, attendees could be given a written exercise to keep them actively occupied while the next presentation is being prepared.
The ideal venue should be adequately lit, should be large enough to accommodate the group, but not small enough to be claustrophobic, should include a refreshments area, should meet the technical requirements of the various speakers, and for visitors from out of town, should be easy to locate. Since many conferences, meetings, and even award ceremonies are held outside a corporation’s headquarters for one reason or another, competition can be fierce among venue providers. This proves to be an advantage to the discerning event manager who will be able to get the best value for the best price.
With your list of priorities in place, you would reconfirm all your bookings, oversee all the necessary arrangements according to the special instructions that you were given by each speaker, and rest assured that your event would be a sure success.