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PRMR Inc. Communications Blog

Event Planning

Posted by Pamala Proverbs on Jan 23, 2008 1:18:00 PM

Event Planning is simple but complex. It is simple because all the tasks required are very simple to execute. It becomes complex because once you get deep into the planning of the event you have tons of simple things to do but if any of these are neglected it can cause a crisis for your event. A simple item like a bottle opener missing at a fun day may through a damper on the event.

In Barbados we had the case where a PR company did not get the necessary permissions to host the event at a particular venue and this created lots of negative press coverage as the event was a very high profile well publicised event.

There are a number of publications on event planning but I would not recommend any of them because I have been disappointed by all the ones I have read thus far. They have all been the same by a different author, any of them would give a basic template for everything under the sun. All the principles I incorporated naturally when I was just planning netball tournaments as a teenager.

You do not need a template for everything in life it makes you dull and uninventive. What you do need for a successful event is a good Things To Do List. Every event is different in that venue, client expectations etc. will cause certain elements to change, the basics however don't change. You can start your very basic list then with: Budget, Date, Time, Venue (permissions), Programme, Services, Promotion, Site Visits, Set Up, Breakdown, Clean-Up and grow the headings.

I deliberately took Clean-up out of the breakdown because in the Caribbean we take our environment for granted and as a practitioner you do not want to have bad press for your company or client by not cleaning up after yourself. Also you do not want to make elementary errors with venues, do your research.

For example in Barbados if you want to host an event in Queen's Park you would need multiple permissions. Spartan controls the playing field, the NCC controls the grounds, and the NCF controls the buildings. The Garrison Savannah has a similar type arrangement.

Be sure to check out all your venue's benefits and limitations, this will be very important to the final cost of your event and would give you a clear picture for your budgeting. In terms of costs, this is one of the complex areas of event planning because your cost overruns can get out of hand if not kept well in check as all the little amounts add up.

It is also best to source your materials/equipment/catering etc. first hand and develop a relationship with your suppliers so that you can get the best rates. For an event you best bet is to be organise, keep you detailed list handy and keep on top of it.

Do not leave anything for the last minute that can be done upfront because you will find that around the time of the event Mr. Murphy will turn up and everything and everyone will be 'helter schelter', you must be the one to keep the ship together. This you cannot get from any text book.

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