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Planning Your Event From Your Adirondack

So, you’re planning a large conference or corporate event. How involved should you be? How much heavy lifting do you and your team really have to do, and how much can you, or should you, hand over to your event partners? Can you really sit back, relax, and enjoy managing your project?

Well, that depends.

It's a trust thing, Jack.

(Kate Winslet) in “Titanic” (1997)

Who are you working with? Truly great strategic relationships start with trust, mutual respect, and a shared vision for success. This is a good start when deciding how involved you should be and with whom! Your level of involvement will also depend on various factors, including your specific vision and goals, preferences, and the expertise of the production company, not to mention your budget and the complexity of your event.

That Adirondack chair is looking pretty good right about now, isn’t it?

Determine how involved you want to be in the planning process. Some companies prefer to have close collaboration with an event planning company, providing input and making decisions at every step. Many successful event managers prefer a more hands-off approach, delegating most responsibilities to the experts while keeping communication consistent and clear. Consider your preferred level of involvement and find a balance that suits your needs.

To aid you in identifying which tasks to assign, let’s first go through some essential aspects:

What are your team’s skills and resources?

Assess your team’s expertise and bandwidth. If your internal team lacks experience in event planning or if you have limited resources to dedicate to the event, it may be beneficial to delegate a larger portion of the planning to a professional company. They have the knowledge, industry connections, and experience to handle various aspects efficiently.

When it comes to your production company, once you have collaborated closely with them to establish the scope, allow them to take the lead! Attempting to micromanage production details may result in delays and distract your production company’s project manager from focusing on the task at hand. Remember, they are seasoned experts and have likely encountered similar situations countless times before! Find a balance that allows you to stay involved in critical decision-making while leveraging the expertise and support of the production professionals.

Remember, collaboration and effective communication are key to a successful partnership with your team – whether internal or external.

What about special requirements that are unique to your industry or event?

If your event has specific requirements or demands, such as a themed event, technical production needs, or unique logistics, it may be beneficial to delegate a larger portion to a specialized event planning company or flexible production partner with experience in those areas.

Strike a balance.

While delegation offers numerous benefits, it is essential to strike a balance. Consider the size, scale, and complexity of your event. Assess the level of difficulty and importance of tasks to determine which ones should be handled internally and which can be delegated externally. Maintain effective communication and coordination between your team and vendors to ensure alignment, seamless integration, and successful collaboration.

Communicate your vision and goals.

Clearly communicate your vision and objectives for the conference. When working with your production company, provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the event’s purpose, target audience, key messages, and desired outcomes. This will help the production company align their efforts with your objectives to deliver a successful event.

Evaluate your event budget.

Carefully evaluate the budget for your event and allocate a reasonable portion for the items you plan to outsource. Keep in mind that some event planners charge a percentage of the overall event budget, while others bid a flat fee. Whichever it is, factor this into your financial plan.

When it comes to the budget for production services, understanding the AV and Production quote is critical for anyone planning a corporate event. If you’ve ever found yourself puzzled by the complexities of an AV/Production quote, check our latest blog post, Navigating Your AV and Production Quote. This blog breaks down the key components and language used in the quotes, making it easier for you to make informed decisions.

Focus on budget management.

Stay actively engaged in budget discussions and decisions. Clearly communicate your budgetary constraints and priorities to your production company and planning team. Work closely with them to ensure that the event stays within budget while meeting your requirements. Regularly review and approve cost estimates, contracts, and invoices to maintain financial oversight.

Keep in mind that any changes to the project’s scope after finalizing the budget may require significant efforts that aren’t as simple to fulfill as you might think. This could eventually result in higher costs than expected. All vendors, partners and team members working with you on this project should apprise you well in advance of the cost for requested changes to the scope.

Okay, control freaks, who gets the decision-making power?

Determine the level of decision-making authority you are comfortable delegating to the production company. Some decisions, such as overall event concept, main themes, and high-level logistics, may require your direct input and final approval. For other operational and technical aspects, you may choose to trust the expertise of the production company and grant them more autonomy.

More on control freaks later. You know who you are.

Trust your AV and Production professionals to do their magic

Regarding your AV/Production partner, it is often helpful to have an initial consultation to discuss your event’s details, get cost estimates, and determine the scope of their services. As the event planner, you should maintain an active role in shaping the content and programming of the event. Work closely with your event production company to define the agenda, select speakers, and curate the sessions. Provide guidance on the desired content and ensure it aligns with your event’s objectives and audience preferences.

Your event production company’s primary goal is to ensure that the event runs smoothly and successfully while focusing on the objectives you defined with them at the onset of the project.

Their high-level scope typically includes:

  • Concept Development
  • Logistics and Planning
  • Audiovisual and Lighting
  • Stage and Set Design
  • Session Production and Management

Overall, your production company’s expertise lies in managing the technical, logistical, and creative elements of your event, allowing you to focus on your specific goals and objectives without getting overwhelmed by the details.

Communication is crucial!

Maintain open and regular communication with your production company throughout the planning process. Establish a collaborative relationship to encourage open communication and trust. Stay involved by attending planning meetings, providing feedback, and reviewing the production company’s proposals and plans.

At the B2Group, we set up regular conference calls with the key planner/s we are working with where we exchange ideas, discuss progress, and address concerns. This regular communication is not only an imperative component of production planning and preparation, it encourages valuable relationship-building among the key event production members.

As far as the details around the non-production portion of your event planning, think about delegating the event media/marketing, event coordination and attendee activities.

Marketing, Media, Messaging

Marketing and media require attention, including the development of a comprehensive plan and visually engaging campaigns to effectively spread the message and drive registrations. The team assigned these projects can design the event’s web page, produce videos to encourage registration (pre-show videos), produce videos to be shown during the event, and produce highlight videos to be shared with delegates once they’ve returned home. They would create the overall consistent message and branding throughout the show, in whatever format – creating the show’s theme, the look of signage, layout and design of the agenda, badges, collateral materials, PowerPoint templates, gobos, and so on.

Look for a production company that specializes in not only professional event production, but also the production of high-quality, innovative and creative media.

I can’t resist shamelessly endorsing the B2Group for a moment…click here for samples of our media – we’re pretty proud of our work! The bottom line is, weaving media into the fabric of your event by your production company is an efficient and effective turnkey solution; with this option, you’ll have a seamless, powerful option that will save you time and money.

Coordination of the event’s details

Your event coordinator would assist with attendee services, including registration, attendee give-away packets, seating assignments, accommodation bookings, airport transfers, and hospitality arrangements. They can manage the logistics, coordinate with vendors, oversee transportation arrangements, and handle last-minute changes or emergencies. You may also be able to delegate these responsibilities to a Destination Management Company (DMC).

Arranging attendee activities

If you’re using a DMC, you could have them arrange for cultural and experiential activities. This may include city tours, team-building activities like unique team sport competitions or golf tournaments, attending professional sporting events, themed dinners, local excursions, and immersive experiences that reflect the destination’s culture, history, and traditions.

On the other hand, if you’re hosting a smaller and less complex event, you may choose to handle some aspects in-house and delegate specific tasks to the event planning company.

A word about control freaks

Do you consider yourself a “control freak”? This can be a good thing, if you truly strive for control – as in leadership and management, not micro-managing, in the context of professional corporate event planning. To delegate event responsibilities does not mean abdicating your position! Rather, it means you are assigning tasks and responsibilities to others while still maintaining accountability.

Delegating to the experts while effectively and efficiently communicating helps ensure the success of your event. It frees you up to focus on the big picture, your strategic relationships, attendee preferences, and objectives for your company and event. It encourages organization and instills a calm demeanor, resulting in an event planning experience that is free from unnecessary tension.

In Conclusion

And there you have it, my fellow event enthusiasts! With these newfound event planning and delegation superpowers, you’re ready to conquer tasks like a pro and unlock the secret to more time, less stress, and a happier you. So go forth and plan that event from your Adirondack like a boss!