The term staging applies to all aspects of business event planning. Weaving together the many strands that spell success is like putting together a massive jigsaw. Approach it systematically and with an open mind, and it’ll fall into place more easily.
Choice of venue is one of the most open secrets out there, yet it’s often taken for granted. This is because when venue and event are ideally matched, the joins are seamless and everything ‘just works’.
What to look for:
- Appropriate cost — determine the budget before you even start looking, then narrow your options from there and be willing to compromise. Maybe you can allot more to the venue if you cut back on catering or have a smaller guest list?
- Suitable layout — do you need several rooms for different events, and if so does your chosen venue have sufficient space for people to move between rooms comfortably? Bottlenecks and overcrowding are unpleasant for everyone.
- Security and safety — do you need somewhere for event registration, or someone to man the doors? Are there good fire precautions and escapes? What insurances will you need on top of general business insurances?
- Size — have a general idea of attendee numbers and make sure there’s enough space for the type of seating you need (conference, dining or tiered seating), or for entertainment and activities in less formal business events.
- Facilities/Services — catering, equipment for sound and vision, seating and maybe a stage for speakers to work from. If the venue doesn’t have them, you may need to hire them to give the event a professional spin and make it run smoothly.
- Location and type — modern or traditional, town or country, where you choose to host the event should reflect your brand. It will certainly set the tone.
Outdoor Event Staging
Outdoor events are another matter entirely, and you’ll likely need to give more attention to how people will move around the location, and how you’ll direct them.
- Fences and barriers — use these to direct traffic flow as well as to cordon off private areas or those where there are safety hazards. Showgrounds, for instance, may need a central ringed area with barriers to indicate audience positions and safety zones.
- Seating — tiered seating may be appropriate depending on the type of show you’re staging.
- Stages and podiums — do you need a PA tower, or a stage for music or other entertainment? If so, a domed stage will provide a backdrop and concentrate attention where you want it.
Other considerations include how you’ll run power cables, how you’ll make sure they’re safe (no trip hazards, for instance). Health and safety may be a little more complicated in an outdoor event.
And finally, give some thought to cleaning up the area afterwards. The amount of litter and ground damage can be quite startling.
Promotions and Advertising
How and where you advertise the event also helps set the stage as choices in this area help set the tone and ambiance. It’s not just the places you advertise in (online and off), it’s the words you choose, logos, colours, format and depth of information.
Professional copywriting can help you set the tone, but assuming you’ll take care of this as part of event planning, here are some tips:
- Tell people why they should attend and what they’ll get out of it. Include fun elements, even for formal conference-type events if this would be appropriate. Have giveaways, freebies or prizes. Invite entertaining, respected, informative speakers.
- Create promotional materials your speakers can use as part of their own promotions. Make it easy for them to share and tell their personal audiences what they’re doing and when.
- Online, tailor advertising to platform. Create unique Twitter hashtags, take out Facebook ads or host hangouts, podcasts or live webinars.
- Don’t forget basic information on printed or digital materials. Include times and dates, venue, contact numbers and directions/transport links.
Because there’s so much to pull together, start planning early and put together a team of helpers. Stay flexible, draw up contingency plans for when/if things go awry and hopefully your event will go down a storm.