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The devil is in the details

Workshop staff admires one of the displays at LISC's Smart Communities event in Humboldt Park. We had fun planning it AND attending it.

If there were ever an expression that aptly described planning the perfect event, it is that – the devil is in the details. Over the years, I have managed the planning of many events–from breakfast meetings for 50 people to a 1000-person community development conference. No matter the size or scale, knowing how to think through the details at the beginning of the event planning process will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

For example, do you want to spend money on those nifty banners that hang from the lamp posts on Clark St. sometimes? Guess what – that process takes forever! But it can be done.

Or, will your event incorporate bus tours to three of Chicago’s up-and-coming communities? It’s a fantastic idea, but you can’t organize that in a week.

The details will either make your event unforgettable or sink your metaphorical party ship. But before you dive in to the color of the linens, you must first engage in an event planning process with your team. What’s the goal of your event? Do expensive bus tours and banners help you achieve that goal? Who’s your audience? Will the bus tours help you increase registration by that core audience? And always think through how you’ll define success when it’s all over. If 50 people hate the chicken you served for lunch but loved all the workshops they attended, then you probably did alright. Sure, it’s a bummer the chicken was dry, but that’s not the reason you put all the time and resources into the event in the first place.

Whether you’re planning a conference or an intimate cocktail party, learning some tips and tricks of the event planning trade can greatly improve your chances for an unforgettable event. Register for “Igniting Successful Events for Glowing Audiences” at Making Media Connection 2012 with seasoned event planner and communications expert Jill Stewart to learn how to be strategic throughout the event planning process, how to market your event online and how to get those pesky tent permits without driving yourself mad.

And remember, if you’re in the middle of planning a huge event and you start dreaming about your colleague falling out of a window days before the big conference or the printer losing all 3000 of your invitations, it’s normal! It’s just part of the event planning process, and it means your brain is working overtime to ensure your event is practically perfect in every way.

We hope to see you at Making Media Connections 2012! (Register by Monday, April 30 to get the early bird rate. It’s a $60 discount!)

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Category: Making Media Connections, Tips

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