When one of our consultants approached the marketing team to discuss organising an event for women in the MedTech industry, we were 100% on board. We didn’t stop to consider that none of us had experience in organising corporate events, but how hard could it be right?
Our first event went wonderfully; we had great feedback, everyone walked away with smiles on their faces, and asking ‘What’s Next?’ but that wasn’t without a few snags along the way. You also can’t ride that positive wave of feedback forever.
We learnt plenty of lessons organising these events. Needless to say, our second event wasn’t such a smash hit. But we’ve learnt plenty in the last 6 months as rookies to the event organising world.
So here are 10 lessons we learnt as events novices and that you should bear in mind if you’re branching out into events management:
1) Make a master list of everything you need
This includes name tags… when you accidentally leave them behind in the office, people notice. But it could be worse if you’re forgetting projectors, speeches, or agendas – oops.
2) A month isn’t that long, plan ahead
When your full time role isn’t event organiser, you’ll find the weeks get away from you. It might sound obvious, but leaving things to the last minute is stressful and you won’t see a great turn out.
3) Free tickets aren’t the best for attendance
On paper, free tickets sound like the best option. However, we found this reduces the commitment to the event. If you don’t want to be charging people for the event, offer a charitable donation to a charity aligned with your company’s values.
4) Use eventbrite.com
If you haven’t heard of this site before, take a look. It’s the easiest and most efficient way to sell tickets. It’s also a strong URL to use in your social media posts for marketing purposes, you should see a high click through rate.
5) Calling people takes too much time
Whilst calling people is effective, it’s very time consuming. Try and be realistic, if you don’t think you’ll have the time to commit to calling every individual who might be interested in your event think of ways around this. Generate master email lists, or projects in Linkedin. We created a LinkedIn group too.
6) Always think about quality added
We learnt pretty quickly getting carried away with an idea that on the surface sounds exciting is very easy. Take the time to identify how your attendees will benefit from your event. You don’t want them leaving thinking, “what was the point in that?”
7) Don’t cruise on your follow up event because your first went well
Thinking your first round of attendees will automatically be on board is a huge assumption. Even if they are interested, they might be busy. As much organisation and thought should go into the follow up events as the primary one.
8) If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it
The set up from our first event was spot on. With our second one we tried a different set up, and it didn’t quite work. We learnt that tried and tested is more effective when you're restricted with time and resources.
9) Ask for help & advice
Approaching other people in the business for their ideas, or experience is invaluable. When we realised our new Operations Director had events experience we took full advantage of her advice.
10) It’s about quality not quantity
Don’t compromise the quality of the event by being too optimistic with your time frames. It’s better to do two great events a year, than 4 average ones. This is especially important if you’re an SME with limited resources. If you’ve got the time to invest, then go for it!