If you work in PR, sooner or later, (most likely sooner than you would like) you will have to put together a special event. To make sure that everything goes according to plan, here are 10 tips collected from PR professionals from around the country by PR Breakfast Club (www.prbreakfastclub.com):
- Business cards – Keep them in your name badge or your pocket, but you know you’ll need them. – Cynthia Shannon, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
- Phone numbers – Create a list of all vendors, staff, media and key contacts.- Ann Strout, AllaroundVA
- Pockets – An outfit with pockets lets you go purse free! – Norma Rosenthal, Norma Rosenthal Public Relations
- Restrooms – Know where they are before the guests arrive. – Ashley Torresala, Propel Communications
- Snacks – Remember to stash granola bars and water for yourself. You never know when you will get to eat. – Cynthia Shannon, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
- Avoid Alcohol – Never drink at your events. It slows you down and takes you off your game.- Patricia Ann, The Wedding Studio
- Red Bull – It gives you wings! – Traci Allen, Traci Allen Inc.
- Pens – I keep a magnetic pen around my neck so I don’t lose it. – Janet Fallon, PR Options
- Back-up Outfit – To make sure you always look presentable. – Farrah Parker, FD Parker & Associates
- Dark Colors – Wear an outfit with dark colors to help you blend in and disguise any unexpected dirt, sweat or other stains. – Justin Minsker, JHL Company
Here are two additional suggestions that my assistant swears by:
11. Binder – Before you even make one phone call to a vendor, get a 2 or 3 inch wide binder and create sections for correspondences, contracts, contact information, bills/receipts/checks, invitation/signage drafts, other miscellaneous items. Organizing your event information this way puts everything you need at your fingertips, so you won’t be scrolling through an endless inbox or searching a cluttered desk for that message from the site manager or a bill from the caterer.
12. If you work with a nonprofit organization and you want your event to raise money for the organization, she recommends the book Black Tie Optional: A Complete Special Events Resource for Nonprofit Organizations by Harry A. Freedman and Karen Feldman. The book is set up so that you can read individual chapters and get the information you need without having to read the entire book. It breaks down all that you need to do and not do so that your nonprofit organization’s event makes money to support the organization’s mission. Just be sure to get the second edition that was published in 2007. An earlier version of this book was published in 1991 and copies of that version are still available for sale.
Yes, special events can be a lot of work and then some. But advance planning, organization, and comfortable shoes will go a long way in making the special event a great success.
Roussel Cotaya, Linzy “10 Ingredients to Make Your Event Execution Easy”, PR Breakfast Club, May 22, 2012. <http://prbreakfastclub.com/2012/05/22/10-ingredients-to-make-your-event-execution-easy/>