How To Host An Event: A Complete Guide With Steps And Tips

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Hosting an event can be a great opportunity to increase awareness, earn funds or simply to have fun and connect with professionals. Hosting an event can be very challenging with no guidance but it can be worthwhile if you can produce a plan. You can prevent feeling hesitant and keep things going smoothly with appropriate planning and preparation. In this article, we examine how to host an event successfully along with a few tips that you can utilise.

How to host an event successfully

Follow these steps as a guide on how to host an event:

1. Prepare your venue

You may want your venue to be ready and prepared to receive the guests before they start arriving for the event. Preparing the venue just before an event starts can be very stressful. Arrive with your crew an hour or two before the event starts and begin preparing the location for the activities that are supposed to follow. Here are some things you can focus on while preparing your venue for an event:

  • Ensure that you place all the furniture in its right place.

  • Accentuate the visual appeal of the space according to the theme of the event, using decorations.

  • Ensure that all of your audio, video and lighting equipment works properly.

  • Prepare a podium on the stage along with any props that your performers or speakers may require.

  • Make a system to stock and distribute welcome beverages and other refreshments to the guests.

  • Set up your sponsor's promotional materials like banners, flyers and posters.

  • Make sure that you perform a thorough check-up of the venue before it is available to receive guests.

Related: A Complete Guide To An Event Management Career (With Jobs)

2. Accommodate the speakers or performers of the event

It is common practice to invite guest performers or speakers to an event. Make sure you have someone to greet them and cater to their requirements. You do not want them to be hungry, thirsty, tired or unsure of what their tasks are while they are at the venue. Typically, performing artists or guest speakers provide the organiser of the event with a list of equipment and props in case they require specific items.

Prepare a list beforehand to identify and account for everything a guest may require. Introduce yourself to them if you have not met them previously. Express your gratitude and be open to taking questions or feedback, especially while the event is taking place.

3. Handle guest registration

It is beneficial if you have staff members managing the entrances to the venue and handling tasks like offering welcome refreshments, registering attendees, distributing badges with names and verifying tickets. Make sure you set up your QR scanners and barcodes correctly to speed up the process. If you are making use of an online platform that includes ticket processing software, make sure everyone on your team installs it ahead of time. It is a good practice to test all scanning procedures before the event starts, to ensure that everything is functioning appropriately.

4. Assist guests with navigation

Ensure that there are enough navigational signs throughout the location and mark routes to washrooms, exits and access corridors in a clear way. If your event takes reservations, verify that you mark individual seats and rows properly in a readable format. It is beneficial to have a team of professionals volunteering to help guests navigate the space and activities of the event. Ensure that your guests find it easy to identify volunteers using distinctive uniforms or coloured name badges.

5. Encourage audience participation

If the event is a conference or it involves a speaker, audience participation is vital in improving overall engagement. Enable and encourage members of the audience to ask questions and interact directly with the speakers or performers if they are open to it. If it is a casual event, try to organise an ice-breaking session, so that your guests get to interact with each other. You can also consider going live on a social media platform to create online engagement and conversation around the event.

6. Collect real-time feedback about the event

While sending out a post-event survey, might result in receiving too much of information, whereas asking for feedback while the event is going on gives you a chance to know how your guests truly perceive and respond to the event. During an ongoing event, people's opinions may still be vivid in their thoughts. You can choose to collect written feedback through a printed form, or provide access to an online platform that handles crowd surveys. You can also choose to socialise with your audience and pick up on their suggestions while making casual conversation.

7. Keep track of time

Venues may have a strict time limit within which you ideally conclude the event. Let the presenters know about their time slots well in advance. It is beneficial to develop a solid strategy for managing time slots and deadlines for all participants. Keep track of time and inform concerned individuals to make sure everyone follows the schedule.

8. Be the last to leave

Say your goodbyes and bid farewell to any guests remaining in the venue after the event ends. Assess whether your presenters and performers have any complaints and have received the assistance they require to finish the event. Disperse and clean signage, decorative items, equipment and sponsorship insignia with your crew.

Related: What Is An Event Planner? (With Duties, Salary And Skills)

Tips for hosting a successful event

The process of event planning can be challenging, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Here are some tips that you can follow while planning an event:

Start with a well-designed event page

The event page or website is the foundation of all your marketing efforts. This is a website or a page you dedicate to an event. Make it appealing and include at least some of the following elements:

  • attractive description of the event

  • biographies and photos of the speakers

  • videos with a selected theme for the event

  • a button or link for registration

Send pre-event emails

If you have a mailing list, an email marketing campaign might prove useful for getting positive responses. If you do not have your own email list, ask speakers, business partners or friends to add the event to theirs. You can use these strategies to send mails:

  • Make the subject line fun and interesting.

  • Keep it as detailed and informative as possible.

  • Send the mail over the weekend. People may feel less stressed and more willing to attend your event for a few hours.

  • Use a video of the primary attraction as a thumbnail.

  • Make use of social proof. Make sure you include reviews in the email if you have favourable feedback from similar events in the past.

Make use of available social media networks

You can use various channels of social media to promote the event. Make sure you cover top social networking sites with an announcement of the event. You can use a unique hashtag for each event that can be consistent across all platforms. Much before your event incorporate this hashtag into the content, from visual media to social media platforms and even to tweets. This makes it easy for people to locate what you are sharing and add their own voice to the conversation by using an event-specific hashtag.

Related: What does a Social Media Manager do? Skills And Qualifications

Send a press release to media outlets and industry websites

Start with hyper-local media as they typically allow you to customise your own announcements. Consider industry and trade groups. Most of them have newsletters. Make sure they receive your announcement in time for them to utilise it effectively. Send a professional-looking press release to local newspapers, radio stations and television stations. You can also employ the assistance of locally operating blog sites.

Build anticipation for the event prior to and during it

Make sure your hashtag is active and that the social media platforms you employ capture the look and feel of the event accurately. If you plan a giveaway as part of your event, hold a draw straight away, and share the results across all social media platforms, along with a hint that another giveaway is on the way. Build up excitement for the upcoming event by sharing useful and engaging information about it on social media handles.

Create a backup plan

It is critical to plan ahead to execute a successful event. It is beneficial to have a backup plan in place to ensure that your event progresses without major contingencies. Share your backup plans with your crew, vendors and the venue, along with the policies and procedures to follow in the case of an unforeseen instance.

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