All meeting and event planners have horror stories about how they manage their events, from 3-ring binders to elaborate spreadsheets. Heaven forbid, if you lose the binder or can’t get online to access the spreadsheets, there are so many things that can go wrong. Here are organization tips for highly effective event and meeting planners to keep pace in the industry.
- Bye Bye Spreadsheets. Spreadsheets were initially used for mathematical or financial tasks, and even though event planners have to track hundreds of deliverables (due dates, costs and assignments), there are better solutions for event planners. These include project management tools with mobile apps that can be used before the event begins and to access information while on-site. These apps are like your notebook, but better; they sync back to the cloud so nothing gets lost. They also allow you to keep in touch with your peers at the office in real time.
- The Cloud is your Best Friend. The problem with notebooks is it’s out of date as soon as you put it in the book. A cloud-based system creates a central location for all information associated with an event or meeting. It’s a place where files, decisions, contracts and conversations can be assessed and reviewed. That means fewer meetings and less time spent disseminating new information to team members.
- Delegate, delegate and delegate more. Event and meeting planners often exhaust themselves as they try to do everything themselves. You can delegate work effectively, while still monitoring the progress in real time. Collaborative work management software lets you assign work to members of your team and monitor the status of every task. Members of the team will appreciate the organization as much as you appreciate the transparency.
- Automate Deadlines. Events and meetings rotate around a variety of deadlines, from short term to years out. These deadlines usually create a domino effect; one change affects the rest down the line. There are tools that help you automate these calculations so you can manage unexpected schedule changes with confidence, knowing the event is staying on track. Stuff happens. When you utilize automation, you can change one date and the computer will do the dirty work of figuring out the rest.
- Templates Create Success. If your event was successful, you want to duplicate that in every way possible. The problem with a notebook is that you can’t just photocopy it and start over again. Tools in the cloud allow you to access learnings from previous events or meetings and replicate your results, while reviewing areas for improvement. As the volume and costs of your events grow, this will help optimize your work, not just manage it.
If you’re a high-speed and high-volume event planner, it’s time to ditch the 3-ring binder and embrace modern conveniences, like cloud software, that will help you improve event planning from start to finish.