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When planning an event as a small business, plan your communications. A larger company should already have a dedicated team, but smaller company employees often do this alongside their usual responsibilities. Event communications won’t be pain-free, but it can be easier with a good, flexible plan.
If you are planning a year out, you can schedule everything with room to adapt. Break things down into big and small chunks, each with achievable metrics. Attach people to oversee the related projects with production schedules.
Know your objectives and ensure your team knows those objectives, regarding the event’s purpose, goals, and expected outcomes.
Establish a communication plan: Develop a detailed communication plan that outlines who needs to be communicated with, what information needs to be shared, and when it should be communicated. This plan should include communication channels (email, meetings, phone calls, etc.) and a timeline to ensure all team members are well-informed at each stage of the planning process.
Assign a central point of contact. Too many leaders leads to someone shutting doors. This helps avoid confusion and ensures that everyone receives consistent and accurate information.
Use collaboration tools. These can include something as simple as Google Docs. Take it up a notch and use project management software, team messaging apps, and shared documents to keep all team members updated and facilitate real-time communication.
Meet with your team regularly. These meetings are essential for clarifying responsibilities, addressing concerns, and making necessary adjustments.
Clearly communicate roles and responsibilities. Work smart. By doing this, you can manage easier while also meeting your goals efficiently.
Listen to your team and outside advisors. If you don’t plan events for a living, you’re learning as you go. Be humble, wise, and thankful. It’s a good idea even if you do plan events for a living. 🙂
External communication. Respect their process. Communicate with vendors, sponsors, and other external stakeholders promptly and clearly. Ensure that agreements, contracts, and expectations are communicated in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
Timing matters. Give team members and external partners enough time to fulfill their responsibilities.
Stuff happens, so include a crisis communication plan. This way, you’re ready when a team member leaves, a major milestone is missed, or something major happens.
Follow up after the event. This is not a thank-you dinner afterwards. It is a business meeting with an agenda that includes open dialogue. Not only are you helping team members feel appreciated, but you are learning what went well and what can be improved next time.
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