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Do your events raise the roof or fall flat on the floor?

Posted by in Event planning

Having recently been involved with organising an event for a client, I was completely amazed by the feedback that I got after the event. People said things like… “[We] were really impressed with the way that you handled the invitations to the drinks reception and everything around the guest tickets.” “Thanks for all your hard work in helping make the event a great success – we really appreciate everything you did behind the scenes.” … it really made me realise both how much I can take my event management expertise for granted, and how much a great event can make you, and your business, stand out from the crowd when it’s run well. How many events have you gone to where you felt that you were truly welcome? Where the organisers were there to look after you and make sure that you got the most out of the event? I’ve been to a lot of events in my time both for business and personal reasons and some have left me feeling resentful that I’ve wasted time and money on something that didn’t live up to expectations, some have just left me plain bored, others have made me feel that I’ve had the best time of my life, and one or two have been life changing! So if you’re involved with organising events, make sure you create a kick ass event that will have people giving you a standing ovation and telling friends and family how brilliant you are rather than a snore-a-thon that turns your attendees into characters from the Walking Dead. Achieving Event Mastery I’ve helped to organise many events over the years from glamorous global PR events to team away days, and more recently working with a client on a classical music concert in London, and I’ve got to know beyond a shadow of a doubt how you can make an event that rocks the rafters and inspires your audience. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou What many people get wrong is that they spend too much time on planning the event and not enough time on thinking about the audience and what they will get out of it. How will the event benefit them? What will be the experience that they take away from it? It may take time and effort to research and hire a venue, do the marketing and PR, and create your presentation. But it takes a damn sight more effort to turn that into something that will inspire your audience. So what makes a truly successful event? Here are the 10...

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How to Promote Your Event

Posted by in Event planning, How to

Whether you’re planning to put on workshops for 20 people or to hold seminars for 100, it’s obviously important that you promote your events effectively. You don’t need a large budget to do this; there are many cost-effective ways to get your event in front of your target audience. So here are some ways to promote your event without breaking the bank: Eventbrite. This is a popular tool for selling tickets to your event, whether it’s a free event or paid one. If you are asking people to pay for tickets, then Eventbrite will automatically add a fee to the ticket price which you can either charge to the attendee or absorb into the cost of the ticket.  Eventbrite is easy to set up and once your event is published, you can choose to have it appear in the Eventbrite event listing which gives you some extra free publicity. Email marketing. By using Eventbrite to sell tickets, you can easily promote your events to your mailing list as the application integrates with both MailChimp and Aweber. Just connect your Eventbrite and email marketing accounts, create your event page and then email it out to your list – no additional editing to the mailout is required! Social media. If you use social media for your business, then you can create events on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ to promote to your online followers. Your events will be automatically shared to your contacts and will appear on your profiles. They will also appear on your profile stream and in any search results when people are looking for events such as yours. Hashtags. You can also post a link to the event page on Twitter. If you’re using Twitter, then it’s a good idea to create a hashtag for the event and ask any attendees or speakers to use it when they are tweeting about it. This helps with the promotion both before and during the event. So before the event, your followers can see who will be attending and speaking, and during the event they will be able to follow peoples’ comments and feedback which helps to create a buzz about the event. Joint ventures. If you belong to business organisations or local networking groups that send out regular newsletters, or have contacts with large mailing lists, then you can ask them to promote the event for you. You can do this by offering a percentage of any ticket sales or in return for free tickets to the event. So as you can see, marketing your events doesn’t have to break the bank. You can use some or all of these methods to promote your events cost effectively to your target market. Are you someone who...

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How a Virtual Assistant Can Manage Your Events

Posted by in Event planning, Virtual Assistant

This is the first in a series of blogs detailing how a virtual assistant can help you in certain areas of your business. The first one covers handling the administration of events and future ones will include helping to set up webinars, e-courses, podcasts and videos. There are many ways that you can market your business; putting on workshops is a great way to raise your profile and credibility, and videos and podcasts are becoming increasingly popular too. However, you may not have the expertise or time to learn how to set these up yourself. So this series of blogs will show you how a virtual assistant can help you. If you are someone who organises training events such as workshops or seminars, it can be easy to get bogged down in the details of organising the event rather than focusing on preparing the necessary materials. If this is the case, then here’s how a virtual assistant can help you organise events that your delegates will benefit from attending. Bookings and payments. You can easily set up an online booking and payment system using applications such as Eventbrite. A virtual assistant can set up a booking page on Eventbrite and keep track of the number of attendees. If payments are being made by invoice, then the VA can raise and send out the invoices and chase up payment. Event promotion. Eventbrite integrates with MailChimp so the virtual assistant can upload on to MailChimp the details of people who have booked in and then send out further emails about the event. They can also post a link to the booking page on your Twitter profile, and use the events feature on Facebook and LinkedIn to promote the event to your online connections. Manage attendees/speakers. It can be time-consuming handling all the enquiries from attendees and speakers so let a virtual assistant do it for you. They can deal with any issues or enquiries via phone or email, as well as add a FAQs section on the booking page. A virtual assistant can also prepare and collate any materials such as agendas, name badges, goody bags etc, and manage equipment requirements for the speakers. Liaise with venue. Ensuring that everything is set up properly at the venue is essential for the smooth running of any event. A virtual assistant can liaise with the venue to ensure that the room is set up correctly, all the necessary equipment is in place and working properly, there is sufficient catering, and there is a front desk to book in attendees if necessary. Follow up after event. Once the event is finished, it’s essential to get feedback from the attendees as this is invaluable when...

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How to create a successful event

Posted by in Event planning, How to

If you’re organising an event, you know that it’s essential to have a plan in place from the very start.  You can’t take any chances as a minor oversight could quickly turn into a major problem.  So you’ll know that creating a successful event takes meticulous planning and many hours of hard work. Depending on the size and nature of the event, there are many issues and activities that need to be dealt with. As a start, here’s a list I’ve put together of the top 10 tips on how to create a successful event. Draw up a project schedule so that everybody involved knows what needs to be done, who’s doing it and by when.  It is useful to plan in reverse, by starting at the event date and working backwards. Build a team. You can’t organise an event by yourself so create a great team of people who will help you.  The less people have to multi-task and more they can focus on one job at a time, the less chance there is of something going wrong. Handle delegate enquiries promptly.  Set up a dedicated phone or email address for delegates to send their details and any enquiries about the event, and ensure that this is monitored regularly. Make sure that everyone is aware of the budget for the event.  Stay within budget by tracking all expenses on a spreadsheet, and keep a copy of all receipts and invoices. Get the timing right. Set a date so that you have plenty of time to plan and organise the event properly.  Check that the day doesn’t clash with any other major events which might prevent delegates fromattending. Have a contingency plan in place. Even if you have planned right down to the last detail, you cannot anticipate everything.  Create a contingency plan during the early stages which will address any potential problems. Set up a database with all the delegates’ information, including arrival/departure times, transport pick-ups, accommodation and dietary requirements and any other special needs.  Keep them informed of all timings so they can organise trains/flights accordingly. Visit the venue several times to get to know the layout and facilities.  Check whether any signage is required to help direct attendees.  Check and test any AV equipment. For large events, set up a reception desk to meet and greet delegates.  It may also be useful to set up an area with a laptop and printer so support staff can provide admin assistance during the event. Follow up with attendees. It’s tempting to think that once the event is over, the job is done!   But following up with attendees is key.  Feedback forms are a great way to take away...

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