Give Yourself The Gift of Time
When an event is put together behind a normal timeline–and I am called in to help–I call this an event “rescue.” You want to avoid the need for your event to be rescued. There are a lot of consequences of planning an event in a short time and they are not good.
I remember having to “rescue” a busy doctor with his event. He started his planning well a year ahead of time, so the good thing was that his attendees knew the date and were planning on coming. He had run similar events before with a smaller group of attendees, so I am sure he thought he had this under control. But time flew by. He was busy with a growing practice. Some people in his office who typically helped him with events couldn’t – one was on pregnancy leave and the other was ill. Suddenly, he realized he was a month away from his event with nothing planned except about 70 people coming to it. No venue – so also there were no plans made for food, beverage, room set up, décor, speakers, entertainers, audio visual needs, photographers and videographers. No sponsors were talked to and they usually helped pay for the event. He had not prepared his program or put together his materials for the event. When I met him, I thought he would need a doctor himself. His stress level was at an all-time high.
I put a plan in place, worked efficiently with very long hours and I “rescued” the event. While he was very grateful for my help there were consequences. He was not able to get any of his top venue choices. I had to hunt for a venue that was still available, and the venue I finally found was dark in lighting and not to his liking – but he didn’t have a choice. It was the only one available for the size of his group for the time of his event. He was not able to get sponsors at such short notice, so he had to pay out of his own pocket for the event and my help. We had to work with what speakers, entertainers, audio visual team, photographers and videographers that were still available and not already booked. Thankfully most of these people worked out, but he did not get his first choices. There was no time or options available for any negotiation to get costs down. He had to pay an unbelievable amount of money to “rush” his branded materials to get them to the event in time and without any proofs of how they would turn out. They did not turn out as nicely as they could.
His event would have been very different if he had only given himself more time. There are a lot of moving parts with events and the more time you have the better you can finesse these parts to work together. He would have spent less money, had a nicer venue, more choices on speakers, entertainers, audio visual, photographers and videographers, better branded material, able to handle unexpected problems, more attention to detail and probably most importantly he would have been in a better frame of mind for his event with the right energy.
The doctor at least had his attendees save the date a year out for this event. If he had waited to let attendees know close to the event his attendance would have been much less. Especially if there is travel involved to get to the event, more time needs to be given to the attendees. I know I have a hard time getting anything scheduled on my calendar unless I look to the future. Keep this same thought in mind when planning your event. Give yourself and your attendees the gift of time.