As event planners, we are accustomed to working against the odds. This can include creating a menu that suits a large group of international executives, to locating Mr. Thompson’s missing laptop minutes before he takes the stage. We take pride in making the impossible happen! But despite our penchant for solving problems, the fact is we need good people around us to make it all happen.
Sometimes the “star player” emerges out of nowhere. The server who goes the extra mile to get your guest his favorite bourbon is one example I’m sure you have all experienced. But you don’t always have to wait until the event begins to find your hero. There are plenty of superstars just waiting to show off their talents if only you would give them the chance.
Before you entered the event planning industry you likely dreamed of the day you would be hired for the position. Guess what? There are thousands of people out there who have that same dream, and they are willing to work for free in order to prove themselves. Your event planning intern can assist you on everything from running errands to making sure a VIP gets the special attention he or she needs. Talk to your local college about the ways you can help students gain valuable experience in our industry. If you’re lucky, you might even get introduced to the next full-time member of your staff.
2. Catering Managers
Communicating directly with the catering department while planning your event will significantly increase the efficiency of your meal. This is not a knock against your coordinator or sales contact, but ultimately you want to touch base with the people who are actually cooking and serving the food. After all, who knows better what menu items will present themselves best at a dinner for 500? I would recommend meeting with the catering manager and head chef for any event with 200 guests or more. The subtle details you’ll learn at this meeting may very well change what entrée you choose.
Event sponsors should be utilized for more than just their checkbooks. In fact, building an actual relationship with potential sponsors can provide an invaluable stream of resources. Try to think beyond cash donations when meeting with prospects for the first time. What type of business are they in? How could their products and services help take your event to the next level? Also keep in mind that a true partnership involves the reciprocation of generosity. Distinguish your sponsorship opportunity by offering more than a small advertisement in the event program. Find a way to interact with your donors outside of the event so they can see the progress of your organization’s work.
Even the smallest mention of your event in the right media channel can generate an enormous spike in RSVP’s. People want to be seen where the action is, and if you can leverage the power of the newsmakers, then you’ll have no problem reaching your attendance goals. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about buying ad space here. What you really want is unsolicited traffic, and this requires gaining the support of social influencers in your area. Brainstorm a list of TV reporters, radio personalities and socialites in your region. Give them all free tickets and tell them you need help spreading the word. Incentivize them correctly and the rest will take care of itself.