7 tips for running an event

Posted by on June 15, 2011 in geeky stuff | 1 comment

I’ve helped with and organized a few events in my time; occasionally I get asked for my advice on doing so… as happened twice in the last week, so I thought a blog post was in order on some of the things I’ve learnt from Startup-meetup, BarCamp Bournemouth, Ignite Bomo, Meetdraw etc… and also from attending events.

1) Be specific if/when you ask for sponsorship, you get better results – When we asked sponsors for £340 to cover a meal at a conference, we got better responses than when we asked for £100 to be a “micro-sponsor”. I have to thank Mark Ng for this one when he handed Bar Camp Bomo over to us, by far the most useful thing anyone said to us.

2) Get EVERYTHING in a google doc (or similar)  for anyone involved to see: contact details, to do list, speaker contacts etc etc.

3) Don’t rely on committees, assign tasks clearly to specific people. It’s quite well documented that you have less chance that someone will volunteer to do something the more of you there are about. This is especially true of tasks “can someone…” means noone will (usually).

4) Allow people to do tasks their own way. It’s easy to micro-manage every little detail (or end up doing it yourself) – learn to accept that people do things in different ways and that most times this really doesn’t matter. I’ve even witnessed people working at an event say “I was going to do … but I know (the boss) will tell me I’ve done it the wrong way”.

5) Schedule EVERYTHING. Know when you need invoices paid, things booked, press releases sent… I’ve certainly got this wrong in the past on events and it’s on my “must try harder” list.

6) Be open, honest and transparent with your attendees. My pet peeve at events is when you get conflicting stories about why there is a delay / cock up etc… just be open n honest. Customer service 101: acknowledge what has happened, say what you’re doing to ensure it won’t happen again and what the next steps will be.

7) On the day… Don’t panic. Things WILL go wrong, kit will be lost, people will fail to show, someone will complain about something… So what? Try and enjoy your event, make sure you ask for help as soon as you need it and just roll with it.

As ever, I’d love to know your top tips in the comments.

1 Comment

  1. Great list Luke!

    I would say plan plan plan! Know why you’re holding the event and what you want to get out of it. Remember the Who, What, Where, When & Why and you can’t go far wrong…

    Failing that, let someone who knows what they’re doing plan it for you!


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