Anyone who has at least some experience in the area of event management will tell you that it can look deceptively easy from the outside. Until you try, you will almost certainly not believe event organisers when they tell you how much stress and planning is involved in even the most harmless event.

There are many professional spheres which appear easy at first glance. Take running. It’s easy. Everyone can run. Sure, but try running like Usain Bolt. Not so easy now, is it? And here lies the difference between the professional and the amateur. The same logic applies to events.

Event management is a very big topic simply because events come in all shapes and sizes and are targeted at a wide range of audiences. There are niche events for just 15 people, and massive ones, attended by thousands. From a seminar, wedding, cocktail, marathon and forum to a concert – these are all gatherings which need to be organised in a way that leaves the guests, visitors and participants happy.

Each professionally organised event goes through several main stages:

  • research
  • concepting
  • planning
  • coordination and realisation
  • evaluation

Each of these stages contains many elements.

At the planning stage, you have to answer the basic questions like “Why are we doing it?”, “What kind of people are we targeting?”, “When and where is it appropriate to organise it?”. We need to perform a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, check for competitive events in the same period, and more.

Events should be planned long before they are held. Yes, I can’t organise your event for tomorrow, sorry. And not for the day after tomorrow either. (Here I exclude extraordinary circumstances that may require us to respond today, but they are not representative of the real job.)

At a normal pace, we have the experience to organise a routine small scale event with a simple scenario, which is already in our calendar, within one to two weeks. This is the case only provided that all parties involved know of it in advance and have confirmed that they have no other commitments on that day.

Unfortunately there is no shortcuts guide to organising events. It does not matter how many events you have organised so far, each new one is different (even when it is the same as before). First, every event happens live and cannot be the same as anything before. Second, no matter how experienced you are, it is impossible to predict the infinite variety of possible things that can go wrong. A waitress with a twisted ankle, a ruptured tyre, a flooded computer, presenters sick with the latest flu this season, a power cut, and everything else left standing between you and your perfect event.

Remember this: Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

Look forward to my 10 best tips of how to create an almost perfect event in Elysium’s preview issue. I have tried to recommend a few basic things that can help reduce the risk of mistakes. This is by no means an exhaustive list (10 tips can’t cover this), but it is a basis that you can use.