A friend of mine recently held a launch party on Mother’s Day for her new book. Another is about to celebrate being in business 5 years by holding a cocktail party. I overheard a conversation about holding a networking breakfast to inform potential clients about a new service. And I too am currently organising my book launch. So what’s this got to do with you? Well these “special events” come under the umbrella of public relations and are a great way to promote your business. Staging an event is good PR for you and your business. If it’s done well you may gain media coverage, raise the profile of your brand and increase awareness of your products or services. If nothing else it is a great way to get clients, prospects and influencers together to help spread the word about you and your business. Here’s a look at how to manage an event, from the largest scale to the smallest. It could be a networking event, a media conference, seminar or workshop, fashion parade, open day, product launch or even a cocktail party.

The Beginning

Paying attention to every detail creates a professional image for your business. Begin with the basics by developing your message and branding, choosing the venue or site, date, start and finish times. Organise the legalities – check council permits, contracts, letters of agreement and insurance – if it is something as large as a community event. Set budgets, organise sponsors, suppliers and venue facilities.

Entrances and Exits

Give detailed instructions to your guests on how to get there – public transport options and parking stations. Be aware of emergency exits, disabled access, location for unloading of equipment and equipment storage areas, ticketing, queuing, registration and name tags and event site map.

At the Event

Staging – design and decoration. Power, audiovisual, lighting, video or PowerPoint presentation, speakers or entertainers needs. Marquees, tents or stalls, toilets, waste bins and water. Administration, information and lost children area. Ambulance or first aid, security, crowd control. Contingency plan for wet weather and crisis management plan. Include a manual and run sheets for all personnel. Event tool kit – consider things like blue tac for posters, blank name tags, first aid kit, torch and gaffa tape.

Production

Book speakers, entertainment and accommodation. Food and catering, kitchen and bar facilities, hospitality, dressing rooms, hair and make up, media area, alcohol and beverages and any licenses needed. Money collection and float. Table settings or seating arrangements. Merchandise and souvenirs. Signage including t-shirts or uniforms.

Communication and Promotion

Contact the media for publicity. Organise media releases, photographic images for press usage on television, the internet and in print. Have a photographer and/or video producer at your event. Letterhead and invitations printed, newsletters and emails issued or mailbox drops. Flyers, posters and programs with telephone numbers and website addresses. Contact numbers in your event manual of organisers, staff and entertainers. Send letters to confirm details. Walkie-talkies for instant communication or mobile phones. Have research and evaluation strategies in place.