“God laughs at man’s best made plans” runs the old proverb and while you can never guarantee that things are going to run smoothly 100 % of the time, we are My Chocolate are sticklers for organising ahead.
One day that might mean figuring out the logistics of getting several kilos of chocolate, four of our lovely teachers, a cocoa bean treasure chest and 10 cases of dessert wine to Munich; on another it may mean rigorously taste-testing strawberry cup cakes and whoopee pies well in advance of a new workshop – it’s a hard life sometimes!
Our Top Tips for Planning Your Event:
- Make sure that invitations get sent out in good time, with a clear date to RSVP. Factor in chasing up responses before the last date to reply to, and don’t forget to include dietary and access options on the invitation.
- Time to break out Excel! There’s nothing like a spreadsheet to properly plan crucial timings. Have timetables for invitations; acceptances; organising accommodation and travel; delegates’ options; tickets for conference dinner, the full caboodle. And don’t forget a timetable for the day itself, with allocated roles for your team.
- Your team will only perform smoothly if you fully brief everyone on their roles and relevant information. Make your expectations clear, and then be sure to fire them up with your belief in their individual abilities.
- When deciding on your venue, shortlist at least 3 separate locations. When you pay your visit, bear in mind the location, facilities, friendliness of the staff and services available at no extra cost. Don’t forget to taste the food and wine while you are there. (And yes, that’s a must!)
- Take advantage of the in-house team at your conference venue. They will be familiar with the venue and able to offer free advice and help. They are also likely to have information available to assist you in organising such an event, or their event manager should be able to advise you as part of the overall package.
- Get advice from your entertainment agent for what works best in different venues. Usually live music works well for drinks reception and mealtime (we’re thinking less Kraut Rock, and more Bossa Nova, however!). Watch out as stand-up comedians can be loose canons, so best stick to a speaker who is talking on a pre-agreed and relevant topic for 30 minutes or so after dining.
- Take a break: it’s going to be a long day, so if you can, stay at the venue, or close by the night before. Don’t forget to plan some breaks for you and your team throughout the day. Put your best foot forward – we know you’ll do a fabulous job!
[Image provided by GDC Online]