WFH NETWORK

December 2015 / Volume 3, No. 7

Event planning part two: execution and assessment

The participants have arrived and the big day is here. Making sure your event runs smoothly depends mostly on the extensive planning and preparation detailed in the preceding article, but there is much you can do to minimize mishaps and maximize success on the day.

Volunteers

A well-prepared team of volunteers is crucial to your event’s success. Their role can range from on-site registration to staffing the information booth, ensuring that guests have everything they need, assisting with technical production, and running errands. Ensure that your volunteers have a good understanding of safety rules, for example, being aware of any participant food allergies and knowing the location of fire exits. Make sure they receive all necessary information and training ahead of the event. Treat your volunteers with respect – both you and they should be clear about their responsibilities. You want their experience to be a pleasant one.

Welcoming guests

The Logistics team should know the exact times that participants will arrive, and if needed, arrange transportation to the venue. As guests arrive, greet them with a smile! Usher them into the venue and ensure that your team provides support to those who require assistance (e.g. the elderly, people with disabilities). If you have invited special guests like speakers, performers, or dignitaries, dedicate one or two volunteers to hosting them. A fantastic way to kick off your event is to arrange a small welcome reception where people can mingle and meet in an informal setting.

Team meetings

For multi-day events, your team should meet at the end of every day to discuss tasks for the following day, making sure everyone knows where they need to be and what they are responsible for. You should also go over what happened that day, both the positives and the negatives, and whether any changes need to be made. Being well organized and prepared is vital, but it’s equally important to be adaptable to change. Unexpected challenges will arise, but if you are flexible and resourceful, your team will find solutions to them. Encourage each other! In hectic times, it can be difficult to remember how important every single team member is to the success of the event – even the smallest encouragement can go a long way!

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Say cheese!

Document your event with photographs, audio recordings, videos, and through social media or your organization’s blog, so that those who couldn’t make it can still share the experience. In addition to being a great way to remember the event, this record can serve as a reminder of the hard work and talent of everyone involved. It also provides a great tool for reviewing the event, for improving future programs, and for promoting your next activities. You can even publish videos on YouTube, or invite the local media to spread the word about your event and your organization – but remember to get permission from your guests!

Participant departure

Especially for multi-day events, the Logistics team needs to know what time each participant is leaving, and arrange transportation to departure points. Thanking delegates at the close of the event, and providing a photograph of all the participants and organizers along with a certificate of attendance, is a nice touch. Before they leave, ask participants to complete a feedback form, on paper or online. Once all the participants have left, hold a short team meeting to celebrate the event’s success and thank everyone for their contributions.

Assessment

Give your team enough time to recharge their batteries, before getting together to review the success of the event more critically. Consider participant feedback as well as individual team assessments.

Participant feedback is best when obtained immediately after the event, usually through an anonymous questionnaire.  This should contain both multiple-choice and open-ended questions about all aspects of the event, from the accommodation and food to the program, logistics, and activities. Ask for comments about both the positive and negative aspects of their experience!

Team feedback consists of a series of honest individual and group assessments. Be constructive in your feedback. Evaluate whether the objectives of the event were reached (e.g. concrete goals like the amount of funding raised, or soft goals like the promotion of your group), the concept of the event and how it was carried out, possible improvements in team and individual performance, and any problems encountered and possible reasons for them. Invite feedback and suggestions from your team members. They may have heard or seen things that you missed. As the individuals carrying out the tasks essential to the event’s success, they often have great ideas for improvements.

Write a report that your group can keep as a learning tool, and send a copy to the Executive Committee. Your experiences can be further shared in the group’s newsletter or in the local media.

Although organizing an event can be hard work, it is an unforgettable experience that brings a whole host of benefits. Learn from each event, and use it as inspiration and motivation for other projects. Most importantly, have fun together!

 

What's next?
Welcoming change
Working to achieve your group’s vision and goals is important, but what happens when your goals are no longer in line with the group’s needs or reality? Find out more about setting new targets and adjusting mission statements in the next article.

Questions that require an answer are marked with  *
   
What are some of the most memorable feedback your team received for a group event? Did everything go as planned?