Blog #8 – How to get the best from your event team!

In Events, News by Anna Bailey

There is so much to consider when planning an event, but it is important - as early in the planning process as possible - to think about the team needed to run the event itself.  

The number of people you will need will depend on the scale of the event; if you are running a festival, for example, you will need good-sized teams and team managers (such as catering; technical/production; ticketing; security, etc.). If you are running a product launch or an opening, there may only be two of you – but you will still need to determine who is doing what and, crucially, when.

Whatever the size or type of the event, it is always worth drafting a production schedule early on; this will contain the approximate timeline and actions required at those times and so will enable you get a good feel early on of the number of people (or teams of people) you will need. Here at DRIVE we swear by them – they become our bible for the event and contain ALL relevant information and detail, no matter how small.

As you approach the event, once you have finalised the production schedule, circulate it to all team members (and any key participants, as well as the venue itself, if appropriate), and be clear that any questions, thoughts or feedback are welcome from your team. You want to make your event a success and sometimes you can get so bogged down in the planning you can miss something obvious. Also, it is a good idea to factor in some time – even just five minutes – to have a team briefing a couple of hours before the event starts. Synchronise watches (or just check phones all on the GMT), ensure everyone is present and correct and that they are on the all-important event WhatsApp group (it is good practice to set this up a couple of days ahead of the event to get the team spirit flowing!)

When drafting your production schedule, start with the busiest time of an event and try and envisage any bottlenecks – let’s take a professional conference as an example. Lunchtimes during a conference can be a real pressure point and can sometimes feel like you are feeding the 5000; consider how many people need to eat and how long you have allocated. How many catering stations will you need to achieve this? How will delegates know where to go from the main conference theatre? As well as signage, it is usually a good idea to have team members available to direct your guests. In some cases, your venue might be happy to help at this point so it’s always worth asking the question as you could save some money here. A good tip: make sure that one person is given the responsibility of liaising with the catering manager and that they have the requisite confidence to chivvy and point out any issues as they arise.

It is often useful to approach any event by splitting it into zones or areas and consider the teams needed to ‘man’ those zones accordingly. Who will be responsible for meeting and greeting guests? If everyone turns up at once, consider how will you deal with queues at the cloakrooms (there are always queues here, and you need to make sure you have booked enough cloakroom staff with the venue). The same applies at the registration desk. Make sure your team members know EXACTLY who is doing what (this will be covered in your final production schedule). You might have two people taking details, another handing out the lanyards and badges and another handing out the delegate packs or goodie bags. For a larger conference you will need teams of people handling these elements. This is all just front of house of course; ‘backstage’ you will need someone to make sure that everything is as it should be with the AV/technical team (more if across multiple rooms), whilst another member of the team should be looking after your speakers, and another any VIPs. Again, confidence is key. You need to have the confidence to remind speakers that it they turn off their phones (they will need to for the mikes in any case) and ideally remind gentlemen not to rattle their pocket change! It’s the attention to detail on points like this that ensure your event is a success!

Once you have decided who is going to oversee each zone, then make sure all team members are aware of this to avoid any potential confusion on the day.

It is also important to ensure you have the venue staff on-side. They are vital members of your team. Take time to talk to them, find out their names, ensure you know who is looking after you and when. If your event is going into the evening, there is likely to be a shift change so it is important to be aware of this handover time.

When planning your team resources for any event, it is always worth having a couple of extra team members who can act as runners if necessary. It is far better to have enough team members during the stress/pinch points than not, even if that means they are twiddling their thumbs for some parts of the day.

The DRIVE team is very experienced in running all kinds of events and can support you from conception of an event to the delivery and feedback from guests. If you want to concentrate on the content of your event and actually participate fully in an event rather than worrying what is going on behind the scenes, then look no further!

We can work with you to devise the event, we can source venues, negotiate the best deals, and source sponsors and exhibitors. We can also manage the entire marketing communications for your event from invitations to programmes, to designing a bespoke logo and website for the event if required, to ensuring the social media is designed and delivered consistently, effectively and on brand.  

Running an event is not as easy as it looks, so please get in touch to discuss how we can help. We can do as little or as much to ensure your event is an absolute triumph!