Monday, 28 November 2011

Event Planning Misconceptions

Yes, yes, I know, my blog posts have been lacking AGAIN. I promise I will try my best to write at least one blog post a week. If I don't, please feel free to give me a gentle nudge ;)

Before I dive into my blog topic, I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying my new position as Events Coordinator for Mitacs. I'm learning a lot about the company and my colleagues. Annnnd of course, my event experience and skills is ever-growing. I feel so fortunate that I found a job that I love :)

So now onto the topic at hand. I have realized recently that a lot of people have misconceptions around event planning. This results from a wide range of individuals not knowing about what is really involved in terms of planning and executing an event. Assumptions are of course made as a result of this. I wish a lot of people really knew what it is we do as event professionals. So, without further ado, I would like to break down the common misconceptions some people have about event planning:

Planning events is all fun and games. Planning events can be fun, for sure, but it's also A LOT of hard work. At times, it can be highly administrative - creating event plans and spreadsheets, answering/sending emails, making phone calls etc. You have to juggle a lot of different tasks at once and meet a number of deadlines. As a result of juggling all these tasks, planning an event can become stressful. I personally love doing all the above, it's part of what makes events so exciting and never boring. I think the real fun part is putting all the different pieces of an event together and seeing it fully executed.

Event planners book rooms and order catering. Yes, booking rooms and ordering catering is part of the job, but it is definitely not the only thing we do. FAR from it. We perform a number of tasks including but not limited to:
  • Creating an event plan
  • Recruiting event staff/volunteers
  • Creating various event task deadlines
  • Creating a floor plan of what the event will look like visually
  • Booking a number of vendors/suppliers
  • Having ongoing communication with your customers
The goes on and on.. (you can learn more by reading my past blog posts)

You can plan an event in 1 month easily. If it was a VERY small event, maybe. I think to really pull off a very successful event you need at least 3+ months of planning. If it's for a large scale conference with 400+ attendees I would say you need over a year of planning. The rule of thumb to have is (usually) the bigger the conference, the more time you need to plan. You need a lot of time to properly plan an event because so much is involved - booking the venue and the catering, determining the event theme and objectives, marketing the event, and much much more.

Anyone can plan an event. I do believe that a lot of people can plan and execute an event but I don't think it is for everyone. You need to be able to multi-task, work under stress, meet multiple deadlines, be highly organized and last but definitely not least be passionate about event planning! Also, as I have said above, planning events can be hard work, so if you aren't prepared for this, event planning may not be for you ;)

There are of course other misconceptions out there but I through my experience, I have found that these are the most common.

Shira :)


Tatum said...

You should consider doing posts on little secrets or hints and tips to event planning.

I've done very basic event planning, but even those are stressful!!!

ShiraG said...

Good idea! Thanks :)

Octavio Johnson said...

Planning events is very stressful but exciting and I enjoyed it.