Successful Event Execution or Disorganized Chaos!

By: Jill Jackson, CMP
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In event planning there is a never-ending “to do” list when it comes to preparations and perfecting execution of successful events. Most who don’t plan meetings and events full-time either believes it is fun or dread every minute of it! For me, I guess I have been involved in some type of event planning for as long as I can remember…or more like as long as I’ve been old enough to help my mother! My mom was the “party planner” for all family gatherings, friends and church events, as well as running her own catering business “for fun” on the side. My sister and I were always involved in some aspect of these events. Little did I know these experiences would help me learn the ins and outs of event planning and that it would be my professional career one day!

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Successful execution of events can be done through calm management or disorganized chaos – I prefer the first option! The phrase “don’t ever let them see you sweat,” is definitely a good goal. But in reality, how you handle disorganized chaos behind the scenes to show calm management to those around you and keeping a smile on your face, may sometimes be a challenge. The following are a few things I have learned to achieve calm and successful execution of events management:  

  • Determine a Plan of Action – Having a plan of action and not just flying by the seat of your pants is always important to any event planning success. What is the event? When is the event? Where is the event? Who will be invited? What is your budget? All must haves to begin your plan of action. 
  • Communication is Key – Little or no communication between your planning team and all supporting partners such as the guests or attendees, hotel or venue hosting the event, rental companies, decorator and audio visual provider could all result in disorganized chaos! Assigning one main point of contact that knows and understands the plan is always the most successful approach and will save on confusion and miscommunication and reduce the chances of disorganized chaos! 
  • Prepare Your Team – Delegating responsibilities within your team is a must to keep the chaos out and calmness within… in more ways than one! Team members who know the plan of action, have assigned roles and responsibilities and stick to these assignments, will result in everyone being a part of the team and all aspects of an event being managed properly. Creating a “to do” list, where all responsibilities and items to be done are listed, all team members are assigned and items checked off when completed is always a good tool.
  • Positive Solutions – In events management it doesn’t matter if the same event is planned at the same time, the same location, with the same planning team and partners every year…something will be different or will occur that hasn’t happened before. This of course is always a good learning opportunity. Learning to calmly review options and come up with the best possible solutions for all parties involved will always result in success. Hope for the best, plan for the worst and know you can handle all things in between!

Every event planner should acquire management tools that turn disorganized chaos into calm and successful execution of events. Finding ways to “make it happen” are learned every day through challenges and successes. In the end, all we want to hear is that the event we managed was a success, the best event ever and those who attended look forward to the next one! Always remember proper planning prepares you for perfection! My personal motto “Make it happen if you can, apologize if you can’t and always strive to do better the next time around.”

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