17.07.2017 07:19

Lorne Armstrong  EVENT ACADEMY

Event planning is a tough business and there is plenty of competition out there for your attendees. When it comes to winning that business you need to offer something different, something that will have people talking both during and after your event. Thanks to social media, industry folk don’t need to be at your event to hear about how exciting (or not) it is straight away.

Have you ever been to an event that was so dull it had you dozing off after lunch? Or even leaving? No one wants to be that event planner! So how can you improve your creativity and ensure you are offering something unique and original?

Learn the basics before you break the rules. Knowing how to plan and run a smooth event gives you the leeway to get creative later. Will people be tweeting about your fabulous entertainment or the fact they had to queue for an hour in the rain to get in? So first of all, learn the rules... then later on, you can break them.

There are plenty of event courses and training out there that you can undertake to help you to become an effective planner. Leave plenty of time for event planning. Trust me, it will take longer than you think – a lot longer! It would be a shame if your creative ideas had to be put to bed just because time ran out and you found yourself frantically stripping all of your most ingenious plans back to the basics. 

Several heads are better than one. Bring together a group of people to brainstorm creative ideas. At this point do not write off anything, no matter how crazy or impossible it may seem. The point is just to be as creative as possible. Later, you can start to judge which of these ideas are most feasible. However, this isn’t always going to be smooth running and it will be up to you to make sure that you pick the right team members and see to it that the group works well together.

Beware of too much bureaucracy. The danger is that after all that inventive work shopping, you might find yourself grinding to a halt as you run headlong into a wall of boring bureaucracy. Of course, you must be thorough about things such as health and safety and insurance, but unnecessary levels of internal approval will slow the process down and put a severe stopper on your momentum. It’s the type of internal hoop-jumping that means you don’t actually have time to get around to getting things done.

During the planning and ideas generation stage you need to live with the ambiguity of not knowing where it’s all going, and remain open to new ideas. But then you need to switch and commit. It’s a balance of allowing time for idea generation, then at the right point saying ‘Right, this is what we are going to do!’

It’s up to the event planner to step up, take responsibility and exert their will as an individual to ensure that plans get off the ground. 

Take Risks. Being prepared to take a risk with ideas is important, but the flip side is that not everything works out exactly as planned.

For a creative event you need to go out on a limb if you really want to go beyond the norm. This won’t always be successful so learn from your mistakes and move on from them if it happens, but don’t let this put you off taking that risk in the first place.

Learn to deal with stress. You know how people say they came up with that great idea in the shower or as they were dozing off to sleep? Maybe that’s because those are the times that we are at our most relaxed and have the headspace to use our imagination. It is essential to communicate with your team and they can be a good sounding board for letting off some steam and can help you solve any issues. You need to learn to step back, take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture, rather than getting swallowed up by small stresses. And enjoy it! No one ever said working hard on something you are passionate about had to be miserable!

Believe yourself and the potential that you have for creative prowess. Event planners are problem solvers and creativity is an extension of those skills.

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