A recipe for event success

Here is a list of things to help you plan that perfect event

Planning public engagement events can seem a little daunting, often there is a huge amount to do in a very short space of time but fortunately there are some processes that can help. Despite events having very different looks and feels many events have similar requirements and milestones.

In this piece I’ve set out some of the most overlooked or poorly executed areas in event planning, giving you suggested times and approaches.

Contents Rally the troops: enlisting local help

Prepare to share: Promo copy and descriptions

Recruit: Getting the people you need for smooth running

Share, Share, Share: Broadcasting your event

Induction: Bring your team together Event pack: Have everything you need ready

Rally the troops (6 months before event) Let’s assume you’ve just heard that your idea has been accepted or funded, hurrah! Now the work really begins. The first thing is to rally your troops – let colleagues and partners know what you are planning and how they can be part of it.

Jot down a list of people who might be interested or useful in supporting your event. If you are in a university some of those people might be: Public Engagement Manager, Impact Champion, Communication Officer, Marketing, Media Unit, Widening Participation, Head of Department and many more.

Your list will likely be comprised of highly skilled and busy individuals, the key is to work with these people and not to delegate to them. I’d recommend meeting as many as possible for a quick chat saying you are planning an event and would like their advice and to see if there was any scope to work together.

Prepare to share (4 months before event)

The last couple of months before the event will be very busy so the more you can prepare in advance the better. Before the three-month mark you want to have prepared:

Public descriptions: Enticing descriptions to attract your audience. Less is more. Less is more. LESS IS MORE. Produce a 100 word, 50 word and 20 word description. You’ll want to add more but don’t.

Partner description: Succinct summary of what the event is including format, target audience, aims and times. This will go to internal and external partners alongside the public facing description so that partners have a clear understanding of what is happening.

Images: Gather images that can be used on social media and on websites. These images need to be high quality. Avoid photos taken on iphones from the back of a room during a talk. Instead buy images which symbolise the event or topic.

Recruit (3 months before event)

If you are leading the event, assign yourself as few tasks as possible on the day. You need to leave yourself free for the unexpected things which are sure to happen. To free yourself up you will need others to help, how much help you need will depend on the size and format of the event, but I would recommend having: