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To help you do this, in this article we’re going to cover the 5 C’s of event management, which are a great starting point for putting your plan together. These are: Concept, Coordination, Control, Culmination, and Closeout. But what do they mean? And how do you apply them to event management?
First up, concept. When you conceptualise your event, you create the framework from which it will grow. In doing this, you need to consider:
Why you are holding your event;
Who will be in attendance;
When it will be;
Where it will be;
What will happen at the event.
Don’t skimp on the details here. Really mine down into each of the above points and take the time to understand all corners of your event. First of all, what is the purpose of your event? What is the end goal? This objective needs to be clear and communicable to your audience. When you have this, you can start to think about the audience, how you will reach them and how you will engage them.
Understanding the ‘Why’ and ‘Who’ also helps you to make headway into the ‘When’ and ‘Where’. If your target audience all live, or work, in a specific area, the location of your event might be a no brainer. Or, if they are all part of one industry or a cross-section of people, there may be a time of year that is more appropriate, or less busy, that will help boost attendance figures.
Finally, what will happen at the event? Again, when you have your ‘Who’ and ‘Why’ fleshed out, you will have a better idea of which type of event will be most effective. For example, a convention will look very different to a company away day that aims to reward and incentivise employees because the overall objective is different. So let this guide you, and use any and all resources at your disposal to get inspired!
When you have your concept, the planning can begin. This is most likely one of the lengthiest parts of the process, because there will likely be quite a few things you need to cover.
In the Coordination phase you’ll be looking at:
Deciding on a theme
Nailing down a solid budget
Drawing up an itinerary
Searching for a venue
Coordinating transport and accommodation
Risk assessments & security
The list above is by no means exhaustive. It may be shorter, or longer, based on the size and scope of your event. But the point is that throughout the coordination part of the process, you need to ensure all your bases are covered.
Start from the beginning of your event and work it through step by step. And don’t forget the finer details that are easy to miss, such as how your guests will get to the venue, how they will sign in, how they will navigate through the day, etc.
If you haven’t planned an event before, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘fun’ parts of planning, such as sourcing a venue, entertainers and food. But you need to make sure the fundamentals are there too, so when the day of your event comes it runs smoothly from start to finish. And if there is a hitch, you have a backup plan to iron it out!
Event control means just that. Staying in control. Be sure to keep things tight and stick to your plan as far as possible. If you start to go off-piste, and get distracted, it’s possible that you might waste time, money, or both on resources that don’t feed the ‘Why’ you established at the concept stage.
It may be helpful to draw up a timeline before you start planning and set yourself clear targets of what should be done, when it should be done by and who is responsible for it. You can’t be too much of a control freak in event management, so keep your eyes on the prize and ensure you have a clear understanding of what your event will look like before you do anything else.
Event control also means managing supplier and vendor relationships. If you’re working with other businesses, you are responsible for ensuring everyone is on the same page. Establish regular contact with suppliers and vendors and ensure they are fully briefed on your expectations, goals and contingency plans. Lack of communication will come back to bite you should anything go wrong, so again be sure to cover all of your bases!
In event culmination, we reach the climax. The big day itself. Your event has come to fruition and it’s time to get the show on the road. But your job as event manager doesn’t stop when the event starts. In fact, it’s really only just begun.
The culmination phase involves communicating with suppliers, vendors and staff, keeping a close eye on timelines, monitoring security, ensuring everything is set up at the right time, etc. Just like the control phase, culmination is about steering the ship in the right direction and putting into action contingency or back up plans if it goes off course.
Make no mistake, something unexpected will happen throughout the course of your event. What will affect the outcome the most is how well you planned for it, how well you perform under pressure, and how timely this issue is communicated to you when it does occur.
The closeout phase is what comes after the event is over. This can include ensuring the venue is clean and tidy, liaising with staff, and closing off with any caterers, entertainers, etc.
Closeout also extends to post-event management, such as getting feedback from clients, evaluating your performance, thanking attendees and staff, reviewing the budget, etc. Although you may just want to have a long lie down after your event, post-event management will help you to understand if and how you reached your goals for the event, and how you can use the momentum gained from it to move forwards.
The 5 C’s of event management will give you an overall structure for planning and executing your event. There is a lot to consider, even for small gatherings, meetings and conferences. Not to mention that added pressure of reaching your goals and ensuring attendees are happy, safe and engaged throughout.
Should you need any support, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. At KDM Events, we have a long track record of supporting businesses and organisations to deliver second-to-none events that are memorable for all the right reasons. From initial planning to venue finding and post-event management, we can support you when and where you need it through our flexible services. So please do get in touch if you need any help. We’re always happy to help!