With 15 years experience in the event industry, Fiona Duncan-Steer shares some of her do’s and dot’s when embarking on the organisation of your event, whether it’s your first or seventieth, the below tips will always be relevant…

GET YOUR MARKETING RIGHT
The invitation is the window to your event, just like a website is for your business- make it attractive, relevant and don’t forget the basic obvious information. You’d be amazed at how many invitations I have received without timings or venue details etc.

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
To ensure a smooth event you need to know how many are due to attend; for venue capacity, catering and your own peace of mind. You’ll need to decide early on if you are going to run a free guest list or sell tickets. Remember that selling tickets still doesn’t guarantee full attendance.

GUEST LIST
Check people off as they arrive no matter what kind of event it is! This way you know who actually didn’t attend and you can follow up and invite them to your next event.

REHEARSE
Beforehand ‘walk the event’ as if you were a guest, from start to finish. This gives you the opportunity to visualise your event before it happens from the eyes of your guests and allows you to make any necessary changes.

DETAILS
The details of anything you do are what make you memorable. Tailor whatever details you can to the type of event you are hosting, with as much precision and professionalism as you are able. For example, if you’re doing a black tie dinner, offer goodie bags or favors on each place setting.

MAKE IT FUN
Whatever the event format, there is no excuse for a dull experience. With a bit of creativity you can make any event enjoyable, so think outside of the box. Of course there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a tried and tested format, if you’d rather play it safe, just be sure to be attentive to your guests needs at all times and you cannot go far wrong.

HOSPITALITY
Whatever you are offering- whether it’s drinks, canapés, a three course dinner or buffet lunch, it’s extremely important to ensure the food is of a decent quality and has variety. Ensure you have several vegetarian options and if it’s a pre booking, cater for special dietary requirements.

SPEAKERS
They’re more often than not the bread and butter of your event, so make sure they’re looked after. Perhaps a free meal as a thank you, plus provide what materials or equipment they may need and test it well in advance.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Ensure the dress code is clear on the invitation if there is one and if so ensure you and your colleagues adhere to it too. Set an example, first impressions count, so ensure your image portrays what you want your event to portray and mirror this too in your behaviour, as you are promoting yourself as well as your brand.

SMILE
How many events have you attended where the first person who greets you at the door is as miserable as sin? Not the welcome you anticipated nor would expect. So ensure you offer a positive experience at your event from start to finish to ensure your guests leave with a smile on their faces and ultimately tell people about their positive experience. After all word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing.

Happy event planning!