Event basics: core elements for event planning

Any kind of event, from a party with close friends to a wedding to a multi-national conference, requires a lot of consideration for your attendees. What do they expect from the event? How do they find out about it? How do they RSVP? Where should they be at any given time? Is there food or drink involved? Should they bring anything?

Regardless of the type of event you organize, there are some basic elements for you to consider. I’ve tried to keep this list to the bare minimum. Consider it almost as a checklist for you in planning your event – if you’ve covered each of these areas, you’ll have the minimum aspects of an event well in hand.

I would encourage you to consider each of these elements form the perspective of your attendees (unless your event is a wedding in which case, hey, you do you!). After all, giving them a seamless, fun experience is what event design is all about.

Here are the basics:

  • Discovery – how do people find out about your event? Facebook invite? Email newsletter? A link on social media? A formal invitation, hand written in calligraphy? Again, this should match your attendees’ expectations.
  • RSVP / registration – how do people let you know they are coming
  • Space / environment – where is this event? what does it “feel like” – cozy? spacious? awe-inspiring? minimalist?
  • Welcome – how are people greeted at your event? Who do they interact with? What kind of experience do you want this to be?
  • Flow – how do people move through your environment? Do they know where to go or what to do next?
  • Connecting – how will people connect with others at your event, both in-person and online? How do they share photos and other thoughts?
  • Main event or program – what’s the main thing people are at your event to do? Learn in a hands-on environment? Network? How quickly and easily can they get to this experience?
  • Food and drink – this is critical. Not every event needs food and drink, but you should always make it clear what is or is not included.
  • Feedback / debrief – how do people provide feedback to you? Even if it’s just to say “this couldn’t have been better,” make sure they have an opportunity to tell you that! And take the time to review those thoughts, no matter how trivial, and think about ways to improve your next event.
  • What’s next? – events are ephemeral by nature. How do people connect afterward? How do they find photos, summaries or resources? How do they continue to connect with one another beyond the end of your event?

I’ll be writing frequently about each of these core elements, and great event design focuses on the many, many details contained within each category.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *