Your event will only be as good as your management skills are behind the scenes, regardless of how great of a planner you may be. Don’t forget about the people who are actually putting your entire event planning into action on your behalf. Communication is definitely the key here and having everyone on the same page as to your ideas is crucial to ensure smooth running.
Organize meeting times
Do yourself the favor of arranging sufficient meeting time with any vendors, contractors or venue staff leading up to the event and on the day of the event itself. Don’t rush these meetings and if you feel you need more than one, then insist on it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. These meetings are essential in establishing requirements and expectations and a simple telephone call will not always do you justice. Meeting on the day will also confirm final plans and is the vehicle through which to communicate any last minute changes, hiccups (these can happen) and/or any other unexpected factors that to everyone’s absolute surprise, although mostly yours, may have suddenly reared their ugly head.
Cue sheets are essential
Running orders are one thing but cue sheets for your entertainment personnel are essential. They don’t need to know what time the bar staff is arriving. A cue sheet provides exactly as it name suggests, a cue. This can be a word, action or particular section of music that acts as a prompt for a sound and/or lighting change and even as stage entrance and exit indicators for performers. These cues are crucial in holding the entertainment product together and must be pre-arranged with significant time ahead of the event so the technicians have time to prepare. Remember that timing is always of the essence so don’t expect great results with last minute arrangements. Make sure there is plenty of copies of the cue sheet in the back stage area, with the sound & light techs, on you and stuck to backstage entrance and exit routes.
Schedule a final run through
Do not forget to schedule in enough time for a final run through of your live show, especially when there is a line up of several different speakers. You need to ensure that the transition between one speaker and another is going to run like clockwork. It is all very well having something down on paper but you must insist to see it work live before you sign off on the final product. You may hear that a rehearsal is not necessary and the speakers do not want to use up their energy before their appearance. However, the overall result is your responsibility and you need to cover all eventualities. Ask the speakers in this case, to at least “walk” through the cues on stage even if they don’t want to go “full out”. A cue-to-cue run through would also work in this situation. This is where the entertainers and technicians run through each section just before and just after each cue, without doing a full rendition of the entire performance. Even this much can prove useful and can often highlight areas of concern. It is the perfect opportunity in which everyone can make changes if necessary. Even as things may look great on paper, not everything always turns out as expected during live presentations. Schedule sufficient rehearsal time that allows enough time for practice and is not too close to the actual performance time, so the entertainers have time to rest and freshen up before their act. Don’t always expect them to arrange their own rehearsal time either. Someone needs to take control and that someone is you!
These are a few of the key steps essential to preparing for an event to help ensure a smooth outcome. Is there something else you like to do before an event? Comment in the section below!