Guest blog by BEYOND - an event agency specialising in project management and consultancy.
As Event Managers, a significant part of our job involves communicating priorities and concepts between stakeholders, in-house project managers, venues and suppliers. Many threads of communication come together with design and strategic planning to create an event that achieves our client’s objectives.
We have the luxury of being contracted to manage the event as ‘experts’; our strategic opinion has weight and objectivity. So, what if you’re put in charge of managing an event for your own company, on top of your day job, with the same smooth-running and outcomes expected?
Project managing an event means that you are in sole charge of ensuring differing objectives are met, budgets are kept in line and that the brand is communicated effectively. You need to manage your relationship with your management team in order to ensure that a) all stakeholders’ objectives are met and b) all stakeholders meet your deadlines.
You need to have a deep understanding of where they are coming from and they must understand what you require from them in order to produce a successful event.
Understanding stakeholders’ objectives:
The Financial Director wants client retention and new business
The Marketing Director needs communications to be impactful and the brand
The Sales Director needs there to be adequate networking opportunities and
have the right team at the event to get enough face-to-face time with clients
These priorities can often compete and muddle the core objectives of the event (particularly in cases where some voices are louder than others). So, what do you need to do to ensure your management team understand the importance of what buy-in you need from them?
Understand where they are coming from.
Deal on their terms; speak their language and step out of the ‘assistant’ role.
Ensure they understand the importance of meeting your deadlines and the impact that not meeting deadlines incurs.
How do we do this?
For every event we create a document we call the ‘Event Map’. This document contains every single detail of the event from the venue address to agreed ROI targets, from AV to the nearest A&E hospital, concept to catering and all the detail in between.
It is colour-coded according to task, staff member or department responsible and includes deadlines for completion. (It gets more succinct the closer we get to the event. By the time of the event it has become the event schedule – a blow by blow crib sheet). In advance of the event it is the overall plan, which regularly goes to each stakeholder for revision and updating. Moreover, it is your insurance policy, showing everyone responsible their tasks. Remember, if everyone else completes their tasks, you shine.
Hear more from BEYOND, including discussion of the Event Map and other essential tools for the event management journey, at the EventLAB Series workshop on 18 June 2019: