Event Planner = Project Manager

Whether it’s a party, conference, reception or trade show, every event has an intangible quality that can make it undeniably scary. Although you can’t actually touch and feel them, there are a lot of moving parts operating before the actual day of the event. Emails and phone conversations with your venue coordinator, photographer, PR rep, AV person, florist, etc. all move simultaneously but separately. These separate pieces make the event alive and whole, therefore everyone should be on the same page so they understand what you are looking to accomplish.

I highly suggest creating a project timeline and execution plan that can be distributed at the beginning of pre-production and throughout the planning process.

Items should include:

1. A list of all parties involved, along  with their contact info (you never know if the AV guy needs to talk to the lead guitarist).
2.  Responsibilities for each party: Include two dates for each deliverable – target date and drop-dead date (absolute deadline for task to be met).
3.  Progress reports: The status of the progress should be noted – has it started, is it in progress and/or what action items are necessary.
4. Arrival/Departure times: The time each party should arrive for adequate setup and the time they are contracted to leave.
5. Payment status: It is probably not ideal to include costs agreed upon but wise to include payment status (i.e. 50% deposit paid, full payment received, etc.).
6. Cancellation status: Terms of agreement are also good to have printed as many times as possible on paper (i.e. up to 48 hours before event for 100% refund, 50% refund if event is cancelled, etc.).

Having everyone on the same working document will enable seamless and thorough communication between all parties. Expectations will be clear from the beginning and most importantly, on paper. It allows others to see what and who is involved; the separate individuals become whole and suddenly there is a team based approach towards your overall vision for the event. As one unit, it allows for a more organized approach when communicating, so you don’t have to backtrack to earlier emails and previous conversations. It allows an event that might seem elusive at the beginning to become clearly understood from point A to point B, from execution steps to budgets, and to overall success upon completion.

Photo courtesy of vancouverfilmschool

About Erina Kim

Erina has been involved with strategic development in the financial, healthcare, and technology sectors. In recent years, she has focused primarily in marketing and event planning and has developed a full spectrum of global events ranging from 10 to 5000 attendees. Currently she works as an Independent Event Planner at The Alta Cucina Epicurean Center and as a Writer and Contributor for eventwist.
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