Planning an Event

January 18th, 2015 by The Milestone Planner

Benjamin Ellis, CEO of SocialOptic, was interview by Silvia Pellegrini of EventsUncovered TV about successfully planning an event. Benjamin’s Key Points:

Have a plan – not too little detail, but not too much. Focus on identifying the key milestones that will lead up to the event. Having a good, milestone-based plan helps you to see you are making progress, and will keep you motivated.

Focus on the outcomes, rather than the activities. Activity lists grow too rapidly and quickly become irrelevant. Focusing on outcomes leads to better, more efficient communication.

Make your milestones clear and evidenced based. They should be something that you, and others, can agree have a happened. “Look for a venue” versus “sign contract with venue” are subtly different. However, they are dramatically different in terms of keeping yourself on track.

Plan “future-backwards” – imagine you have just completed your amazingly successfully event. Go backwards through each step that lead you there. How did the attendees feel? What made them feel that way? What was done that lead to them feel that way?

Surface assumptions, so that everyone is aware of them. What are you and people you are planning the event for assuming? Is everyone clear and agreed about those assumptions?

What is the role of each person in the plan? Do they need to agree things, do they need to be consulted, or are do they just need to be informed about what is going to happen? For leaders, focus on the big picture, for managers, focus on the context. Be clear about ownership and accountability.

Have one plan. It is too easy to end up with as many plans as people, and that doesn’t lead to good outcomes! Have one plan that everyone agrees to and updates.

The way to get good at planning is practice! Plan, carry out our plan, then review it. What did you plan well? What could you have planned better? Learn, iterate and improve!

In summary:

  • Plan “Future backwards” – begin with the end in mind.
  • Focus on the key outcomes.
  • Better to be roughly right, than exactly wrong – plan early and let people challenge your plan.

Watch the video, and check out Events Uncovered TV for many other insights into successfully running events.

One Response to “Planning an Event”

  1. January 18, 2015 at 8:28 pm, Silvia said:

    Thank you for sharing this interview and for being part of Events Uncovered!


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