11Top Tips to run an event
By Dami Fajoabi
Dami Fajobi was one of the organisers behind YES Alliance London 2016, a new cross-European alliance supporting young people 16-17 into social entrepreneurship across the UK, Spain and Greece. In March 2016, the YES Alliance London launch event was held in partnership with Arsenal Stadium, reached 100+ young people and engaged 15+ youth organisations.
If you’re early keep things moving as if you’re just on time –
It’s rare that time is on your side. And even when it is, it doesn’t take much for that to change.
No detail is too small to think about
– not completely true – but be vigorous and learn from your mistakes ASAP) E.g. If you’re using a special font in a presentation, make sure whoever else may be using the presentation also has that font downloaded (email it to them if need be)
Four eyes are better than two.
Six are better than four. Eight are better than… you get the gist – If you’ve got a final draft of something ready that you’re going to show or use for your event, slides, hand-outs etc. Make sure that people other than those involved in creating the content get a chance to proof read it for you. Fresh eyes don’t only bring in new perspectives, but can also spot simple mistakes pretty easily.
The event brief – Make one.
Make it detailed. And get it proof read. It will help you out a lot. Make an event long itinerary that starts from the moment you step foot out your house and have to start preparing for the event. Detail where people will have to be, what time they will have to be there, and what they should be doing. It will save you a lot of stress on the day and help event staff feel more comfortable.
Over-prepared beats underprepared every time
– If you can get a back up for anything, get one. E.g. People giving talks at your event? Get extra speakers lined up (Do let them know they are surplus, but could be your saving grace if something happens).
Divide and conquer, but remember “Teamwork makes the dream work” –
Share out small tasks to get through them quicker. But be aware that some tasks will be meatier and might require a few pairs of hands on deck to get them done well. In these cases set aside a fixed amount of time for people to come together and work on this one piece, to make sure everyone is focused on the same thing and avoid spending to much time on it.
Brief everyone who is helping bring your dream to life
– Everyone understands things in their own way unless you explain your way to them clearly. So set aside some time to tell everyone how you want things done and why. They might even have some useful thoughts about how you can improve on your plan.
Presentation slides – make sure you run through them with whoever will be using them.
You made them, they didn’t, so make sure that everything they’re talking about matches up to the slides, and that they understand the content.
(Even if they are using their own slides it’s good practice. It might highlight some formatting issues etc.)
Set realistic but testing deadlines –
events are stressful by nature, so the more you can push yourself to deliver on what you can, as soon as you can, the better placed you will be to save yourself from any last minute scrambles.
Prioritise and re-evaluate often –
events are living breathing things that constantly change shape and evolve. So whilst it is important to set deadlines and get the nuts and bolts fastened down ASAP, it’s important to keep asking yourself questions like, “Do I need to do this now?” “Do I even need to do this? Why?”, “Can someone else do it better and faster?”, “Why are we doing it like this?”, “Have we been doing this for long enough?”, “Should we change our approach, if it doesn’t work again?”
Say ‘thank you’
– even before people have done anything, even if all they’ve done is agreed to do something. Without them on board the event can’t be a success
Good luck with running your event!