Even the most organized corporate event planners admit that meeting and event planning — with all its moving parts and competing priorities — can be messy.
But it’s possible to streamline the process and make meeting planning easier. The key is to find ways to simplify and minimize chaos at every stage of the event planning journey.
Here are five ways to achieve more serenity in event planning.
Resist the urge to multitask
We get it. Much like many of our event planner partners, you want to get things done. You’re also constantly pulled in several different directions. Your natural instinct is to work on one issue, dabble in another, take phone calls, shoot off emails, field questions, work on budgets, and put out fires — often at the same time.
The biggest problem? Multitasking means you spend more time getting less done. Of course, there will be moments when you’re required to multitask. But for all other times, commit to staying focused and level headed by concentrating on one project at a time. The time spent hopping from one task to another is wasteful and actually can lead to sloppiness and disorder.
Recognize when you’re at your best
Some of us are night owls who concentrate best when the dishes are put away and the house is quiet. Others are morning people who love accomplishing big tasks before the sun (and the rest of the family) has risen.
Whether you’re most focused at midnight or midday, being aware of your most productive hours will improve your concentration and decision making and will increase the amount of work you accomplish.
Shift your to-do’s throughout the day to find out what works best for your personality and lifestyle. Once you figure out your most productive schedule, stick with it.
Hold others accountable
One of the biggest obstacles to simplifying event planning is an insistence on tackling everything on your own. Instead, hold the other members of your team accountable for their tasks and areas of responsibility.
This means recognizing the tasks you can take off your plate and delegate to someone else. Are you the only person who can research engaging event formats, pull together attendee lists, manage event social media accounts, and schedule site visits? Likely not. But if you insist on handling all these tasks on your own, we can guarantee you’ll be on the fast track to fatigue and burnout.
Make meeting planning easier by siphoning off tasks to your team or hiring an assistant or an intern. Check in and get updates as needed, but allow someone else to be in charge of a few things.
Pad your budget and timeline
Nothing creates more chaos than emergencies that threaten the meeting’s agenda and budget. First things first, build in a contingency bucket into your event planning budget. An emergency fund will give you peace of mind and allow you to be nimble with implementing solutions.
Buffer your planning and production schedule with additional time as well. Pad every component not just for the day-of, but also for vendor sourcing, negotiations, and the deliverables process.
Leverage tech to simplify every aspect of the event
Today, corporate event planners can use a legion of event technology tools to streamline every part of the event management life cycle, from venue sourcing, attendee marketing, registration, sponsor management, and organizing attendee activities.
A few to consider:
Quickly and easily discover the ideal venue. Consider which venue criteria are most vital to boosting your attendance, such as room rates, weather, available amenities, and distance to the airport. Then use a tool like GroupSync to narrow down qualified venues and destinations that meet those requirements. GroupSync also helps you compare options side by side and send out detailed RFPs to receive thoughtful responses.
Create quick virtual site inspections. Use an app like Bubb.li (iPhone) or Panorama360 (Android) to record and showcase a 360-degree virtual tour of event space, like an outdoor reception deck or a hotel ballroom. These apps allow you to capture panoramic-style photos with a sweep of your cell phone and then use those to make spherical moving pictures. You can even add sound. You can also ask your hotel partners to use these tools if you can’t travel for a site visit.
Collect and showcase all event social media content. A tool like TINT pulls both your own branded content, plus content created by your attendees, vendors and other event partners, from more than 10 social networks (using geotagged locations, hashtags, etc). From there, you can curate and display these social feeds on your event app, social media walls, and website.
Seamlessly manage attendee relations. Create branded event materials and customized invites, and handle event registration and check-in much more easily with a a single platform like Event Farm.
Stay on top of weather conditions. Don’t let an unexpected thunderstorm unravel your outdoor reception or golf tournament. No matter how in control of the meeting you think you are, Mother Nature will always prove otherwise. Stay safe and keep things simple by staying ahead of the raindrops with an app like Dark Sky. The app acts as a personal weather station in your exact location, showing you a breakdown of all minute-to-minute weather conditions, such as when rain will stop and start.