We all want our next event to be successful and in that 15-minutes before the event starts, when you find yourself asking what more could I have done. It is best to rephrase that question as what more could we all have done.

One thing for sure is that successful events are about making something happen as a team and making it work is about doing something that everyone wants. As a leader, we can often make a big difference with helping to get things going and guiding formative discussions, and that’s good. Throughout we need to always be listening and looking for opportunities to involve people.

A shared purpose is important — don’t rush it, get collaborative input from everyone. Remember that as more people become involved they start owning the project and this is good because their early involvement will inspire others. To help with this initial discussion ask people to share what they want and don’t get put off with a couple of false starts. Make sure everyone is committed to the same outcome.

Next kickoff with planning. At this stage, you should have an idea about how you are going to make it happen. Be prepared to be flexible, because it is about listening to and involving people. Make the plan detailed enough without micromanaging. Don’t overthink what others are thinking. Share your thoughts and ideas, and then move on. Ask for feedback and adjust. Be prepared to bring people’s ideas into the plan because this will encourage involvement. You are not going to want any surprises, make sure the plan has enough detail and gets people involved.

Important aspects of the plan include:

  • Content
  • Promoting
  • Logistics
  • Iterating
  • Delegation
  • Smiling

Content is used to help share and is what happens at the event. Content needs to be interesting and exciting. People want good content.

Promoting is about involving others. Promoting is how the event is going to be shared and through a word of mouth campaign gives an opportunity for more people to become involved. Be an influencer and look for opportunities to encourage the team to be asking others to become involved to help share the event.

Logistics is about everything else, including all the other sponsoring, co-ordination, agendas, audio-visual, financials, refreshments, RSVP management and other stuff that needs to be done to make the event work.

Iterating is about you and the team reviewing the plan regularly.

Delegation can only happen when you have people on the event project team that are interested and invested in the outcome. If you cannot delegate involvement in the plan then revisit the purpose and make sure everyone is on the same page.

About smiling, it is obvious about how you feel when you are smiling. Don’t go through the entire process worried about something going wrong because most likely something will. Having a well thought out plan that is going to minimise surprises gives you the time to work through things as they arise. If you are unable to smile throughout the process then it will show and you will find that nobody wants to be associated with something that is obviously unpleasant and painful.

Wrapping up, in that 15-minutes before your event starts and you find yourself asking what more could be done? start with a plan that involves people.

Comments and feedback are most welcome.