When you think of planning an event, does your stress level immediately rise? If so, you’re not alone. Event planning can be difficult, but there are ways to make it less so.
That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum: “I’m starting an admin job soon. The words ‘event planning’ were used during the interview a couple of times, but I neglected to ask for hard details. Is this something that an admin must do regularly, and is it as difficult as it seems? The idea of organizing an event for hundreds of people seems over my head!” —Kristin, Administrative Assistant III
We reached out for some expert advice and this is what we found.
According to a 2010 study on today’s super admins by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals, 78% of support professionals report they’ve assisted with event-related projects such as office celebrations, corporate meetings, conferences, team-building activities, virtual meetings and awards programs.
“Planning meetings requires skills that people have to build,” says Joan Eisenstodt, a meeting and hospitality consultant and event-planning instructor for the Administrative Professionals Conference. “What anyone planning a meeting or event should keep in mind: It’s not just calling a venue and saying you want to hold an event, meeting or party.”
You should always start by writing out your planning objectives, Eisenstodt says. “Not knowing why you are doing something means that along the way you’ll err in how it is done and in the expenses, decor, etc.”
Every event also needs its own budget, she says. “Budgeting for the specific event (zero-based budgeting) is much smarter than using last year’s or last event’s budget. Things change even if you use the same venue over and over.”
Selecting a venue is about finding a space that fits your event’s specific needs. Refer to the criteria you set for the event and ask plenty of questions to make sure you find a venue that fits, Eisenstodt says.
Before you sign any event contracts, make sure you know what you’re signing by using online resources, such as the Convention Industry Council website, to understand the contract language, she warns. “Contracting for an event is a big deal whether the value of the event is $1,000 or $1 million.”
Online resource: Keep tasks and timelines on track with our event planning checklist.