Set the Date
I have seen the efforts of businesses planning ahead for events go to waste because they never set the date for their event. Ask yourself how many times this has happened to you – you bump into someone and they say to you “we should get together” and you both decide – “let’s do it in a few weeks when we are not so busy” and time flies by, those couple of weeks are gone and you don’t get together because you didn’t set a date! Just imagine how problematic this can get when it involves a lot more than two people and many different companies.
People are busy, companies are busy, time flies by but really nothing can come together for an event until the date is set. When the date is set then the magic can start happening. People and different businesses involved can coordinate their calendars and work together toward the common goal of the event date. Key parts of the event can get locked down when you have a date – your venue and specific vendors that you want. For internal events or where you already know the attendees – you can tell them to save the date which helps to increase attendance of your event. For external events you can build your communication over time to gain attendees for the set date.
I remember working with this one legal practice that wanted to do very nice client appreciation event plus new customer generator. They started planning early for a top end holiday event at the beginning of the year. The venue was not that much of a concern for them since it would be held in their beautiful offices – so they didn’t feel the urgency that most people do when planning holiday events to get their venue booked early. They continued planning out their ideas for nicely made invitations, seasonal decorations, food and beverage ideas, gifts for their attendees…but what they didn’t talk about was a set date. When the month of November came the partners of the law firm met to finalize a date for their event and they could not come up with one date that all of them could be there. They were already booked with other commitments and events. They toyed with the idea of only having some of the partners available for the event and started reaching out to some of their top clients and found out that they were already busy and would not be able to attend. I worked with them to solve their situation the best I could with changing their party from a “Holiday” event to a “New Year” event. Their ideas for invitations, seasonal decorations and their food and beverage ideas that they started working on so early in the year all had to be changed to fit the new theme and time of the year. If they had chosen a date early on, marked it on their calendars to be there, sent out invitations early to their clients for their holiday event, all the work they put into the event would have been able to come into fruition.
I find that not setting the date is one of the most common problems with planning events. No matter how much planning ahead you do, until you set a date and communicate it to all parties involved, nothing can be really set in stone for the event. With a date set you can move forward and start to get the main pieces of the puzzle put together – people who need to be at the event, the venue and any key vendors can be put into place. Set the date!