The emergence of several live video conference platforms has prompted many businesses and hosts to schedule their events online. However, offline open-space events are here to stay.
A successful event begins with proper planning, whether offline or online. But for large scale events, such as those involving hundreds of attendees and notable personalities, you want to plan your event with utmost care and security.
Don’t feel lost; here are valuable tips to help you plan towards a successful large scale event.
1. Get in line with all key players
While you may be going over the event planning with a sense of urgency, not everyone may be on the same page with you. But to successfully put together that monumental event, you need all executives to share the same goals and timelines with you. If not, critical decisions that must be made now may not be addressed early enough until the last minute.
Get in touch with your team members and decision-makers. Share ideas regarding venue, budget, speakers, creative direction, and whatever is required for that specific event.
2. Fix the date
Locking down a specific date is an essential aspect of large scale event planning.
Since there will be many guests, including notable personalities attending the event, it’s vital you lock down the date so that everyone knows what day to plan towards. This prevents a considerable number of potential attendees from being unable to attend because the date changed.
Reach out to all the executives involved to agree on a date that suits all relevant parties.
Once you have fixed this date, it’s time to inform your workshop leaders, speakers, entertainers, and all other parties playing key roles in the event.
It’s also a great idea to include a fun section that serves as a perk for attendees.
3. Ensure the venue suits the event’s objective
Venue matters. For massive events, you want to have an extensive auditorium or field that can accommodate a large crowd. It is an added advantage if you can get a theatre-seating to enable all attendees to see the speaker from all positions.
If the event would involve some meet-and-greets, it’s wise to find a venue with several mixed-use spaces like conference rooms.
If you’re looking to attract attendees from far and wide, a venue with a tourism appeal can get the job done.
4. Put security and crowd control in place
Remember that hundreds of people will attend the event, including renowned personalities in society. Therefore, well-rounded security is pivotal to the event’s success to ensure the life and property of every executive, guest, and attendee are safe. It’s advisable to hire security for event as this is an essential checklist for every large scale event planning.
You can get in touch with a private security company and give them the date, venue, and details so they can station the correct number of personnel at the right points. These people can also serve as crowd control. Otherwise, contact the proper party who can carry out this duty for you.
5. Construct an emergency plan
Every large-scale event requires a clear emergency plan. From fire outbreaks to power outages and violence, the people need to know where emergency exits are located so they can scamper to safety when the undesirable occurs.
The security team you’ve hired would typically be involved in this.
Below is a safety checklist for crowded events:
Go over the venue before the show begins to ensure all emergency exits are open and accessible.
Create a sign or language by which all team members and security personnel can communicate, understand, and respond in case of emergencies.
Have a backup generator or lighting if the power goes out so attendees can find their way around.
Station security personnel in all high-risk areas and exits.
6. Place proper signage
A large-scale event will most likely involve the registration of attendees and the availability of utilities. A vital checklist for such massive events should therefore include designated areas for:
- Potential hazards
- Staff areas, etc.
Put up signage and arrows in vantage points so that the attendees understand the environment and locate such areas with ease.
7. Streamline check-in
An ugly beginning can ruin an entire event you’ve worked so hard to build. Your attendees may get frustrated even before the event begins if they have to stand in queue and wait for hours on end to register or check in to the venue. This can weaken the high-spirited mood you’ve intended right from the start, leading to a negative experience for your guests.
Some practical ways to avoid such frustrations include:
- Stationing self-check-in kiosks
- Creating an app for easy registration
- Availing several entry points
- Giving out tickets so attendees can simply present theirs at the points of entry
- A help-desk to cater to attendees’ challenges without holding up the line.
8. Expect worst-case scenarios
While planning for the best, expect the worst. Doing so will help you identify those things that can go wrong, thereby prompting you to plan for them as well.
Brainstorm with your team to identify these points and avail appropriate solutions beforehand.
Some things that can go wrong during an event include:
Problem: Poor weather grounds a speaker’s flight.
Possible solution: Involve thought leaders within the company in the topics to be discussed. In the unavailability of the guest speaker, such thought leaders can make speeches and conversations that would offer value to the attendees.
Problem: Generator or some other essential equipment going faulty
Possible Solution: Have at least a backup for all essential equipment. This would cost money but not having them can hamper the smooth flow and effectiveness of your event.
9. Make sure you have a team member for every function
Every organization’s success lies in the strength of the entire team, which is a function of each member’s contribution. So it is with an event. Although you may be the event director or project manager, each team member of your creative team will play a vital role as they all come with their strengths and weaknesses. While some reach out to speakers and vendors, some may be better at checking up with contacts or coordinating schedules with ease. Ensure you harness the strengths towards the success of this big upcoming event.
Where possible, allow your team to strive beyond their comfort zone. Communicate and seek ideas from them for your event, find out what they think rather than impose orders on them all the time, and you’ll realize how much creativity and insight they bring to the table.