How to throw an event in 10 easy steps

If you’ve stumbled on a great idea for an event and need a little help pulling it off, I’m here to help you! Creating your first event can feel overwhelming but with a little guidance and a proven structure, I’m sure you can make your first event a success. Throwing your own events is the #1 way to meet people and with YOU at the helm, you can be sure your vibe will permeate the room.  Because events take on the personality, vision, and values of the organizing team, you can be certain that what you create will be like no other!

Let’s dive into the basics of starting your first event

#1 Start with Why

Before diving into the details of an event step back and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself why are you starting the event. Write a mission statement that encompasses your WHY and includes your personal values.

#2 Build a Team

Build a team of likeminded hard workers who are excited about your WHY and embody your values. Make sure you find out the reasons why each team member has decided to help and then make sure to create clear role descriptions, making workflow more efficient. Events take on the energy of the organizing team and you want to make sure the right people are on the team who will be able to transmit the vibe you want.

#3 Brainstorm Event Details

Once you have crystallized your WHY and formed your team, the next stage is to brainstorm the details of the event. In this stage you want to ask yourself “who is the event for?”  Create a profile of your ideal attendee. Give that person a name and brainstorm the reasons why she would want to attend your event. The better you understand your event’s target market, the more you can make informed decisions on the specific details of the event.

#4 Pick a Date and Venue

While you are still working out the details of the event, the trickiest part of event planning is finding the right venue and making sure it is available on the date you need. Picking the date and the venue should be priority number one of your event team.

#5 Visualize

After you have laid out the basic details of the event visualize the event in your head. Imagine being in the space, as an attendee, and walk through their entire experience. Will someone welcome them when they arrive? Will there be a registration table? Where will the food be located?  Make sure to look out for potential obstacles while you walk through your mental landscape of the event and take note of those possible hurdles. The more obstacles you can identify during this visualization exercise the better your event will be and the more “fires” you will avoid.

#6 Budget

After you’ve planned your event and have walked through your event multiple times in your visual map, the next stage is to create a budget.  Make sure to not forget to add the little costs such as name tags and other small items that your event might need.

#7 Market

It’s now time to get the word out for your event. Using the details in your target market profile your team should come up with a list of who to invite. Every member of the team should make a list of people in their network that would enjoy the event.  Consider using a free ticketing service such as Eventbrite if you plan on throwing future events.  Create a buzz for your event using Instagram, Snapchat, and creating a Facebook event. Facebook makes it easy to invite your friends to events you have posted.   Keep in mind the number of people you hope to show up to your event and then follow the 10x rule. You should invite 10 times the number of people you hope to show up to your event.

#8 Checklist

Create a checklist of everything you’ll need to accomplish before, during, and after the event to ensure optimal success for your first event.

#9 Show Up

Now that you’ve planned the coolest event ever, you want to make sure your guests Show Up! Sending a reminder email, text, or phone call the day before the event AND the day of the event increases the likelihood that those who said they are coming will actually show up.  The most effective strategy in getting people to come to your invite is simply BEG them over and over and over again until they say yes.  Have your team go back to their invite list and keep track of each time they’ve reached out and their response. Making a Facebook post is OK and you should do it but nothing is more effective than the personal touch. Make a phone call to your friends or send a personalized message inviting them. Making each guest feel personally invited will be the reason most people show up.

#10 Follow Up

When your event ends, your team’s work is far from over.  Thank the guests for coming, ask them for feedback, and track simple metrics that will help you improve future events.

It can be scary doing something for the first time but if you place your focus on providing value to your guests, then the size of the event or any mistakes you might make won’t matter. You have a great idea and you’ve waited long enough. The world is ready for the experience you have in store.  Let me know how your event goes. I look forward to hearing from you.

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David France is the author of international bestseller “Show Up: The Power of Relational Networking” He is a Speaker, writer, business coach, violinist, string pedagogy clinician, and Founder and Executive Director of Revolution of Hope, a music for social change initiative transforming inner city lives through the arts. You can tweet at him or follow his project on Facebook.