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Planning an Event? - 7 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

By Stagedge Team | 6 min read
Planning an Event? - 7 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Planning an event, whether for 100 people or 10,000, is a lot of work and can be a stressful endeavor. And the word “stressful” here might actually be a bit of an understatement. According to a study by the World Scholarship Vault, event planner stress levels are at an all-time high. The report claims that event planners have the third most stressful job in the world for 2023 . . . The third!

So, you get it. And you know that successful planning and execution require months of preparation with hundreds of decisions (both large and small) that need to be made and approved. When the event finally arrives, last-minute changes or unexpected problems can rattle even the coolest and most level-headed events manager. Before you start pulling your hair out, plan ahead, and anticipate challenges you might face. In doing so, this ensures a successful event that will energize both attendees and company leadership and keep some of the hair on your head.

In our nearly 50 years of experience, we’ve seen a lot and answered countless questions about the event planning process. This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve compiled a list of the top 7 questions that we get asked the most with answers:

#1. What’s the First Step in Planning an Event?

Compile an experienced team. Working with vendors who have seasoned expertise in planning and executing events is the best way to ensure a successful event. When a company is well versed in event production, it serves more as a partner than a vendor, providing the knowledge and added workforce to help you plan and execute the event smoothly.

When working with an experienced event production company, for example, you can expect deep collaboration on all technical aspects from the first meeting through execution. They are there to learn about your company, and your vision for the event, and propose ideas of how to best present your company’s message. This includes event staging, video, and sound. Some event production companies, like Stagedge, offer detailed environmental renderings and three-dimensional flythroughs of the proposed event design, which provides a clearer picture of what the event could look like. This helps represent the experience for stakeholders to ensure confidence on the day of the event.

A Senior Production Manager at Stagedge says it’s important for an event production company to talk to the team about what it will take to make the event happen.

Communication is critical. Our job is to ensure we’ve got a clear understanding of the clients’ needs and their overall vision. We then take that information to inform ‘boots on the ground’ about what’s expected of them so that there’s a seamless transition from pre-planning to execution.

In addition to discussing budget and timeline, your vendors should make you feel comfortable and provide ample information about how they can help you have a successful event. When an event partner tries to build a strong relationship from the beginning, you know they’ll be there when it comes time for the event.

 

#2. How Much Will This Cost?

When it comes to planning an event, it’s important to be completely transparent and upfront about your budget so your vendors can craft a solution that makes the most of it. The cost will depend largely on the size of the event, the number of people on staff, and the technology and equipment needed.

Event production companies will also ask whether you plan to livestream the event or simply record it. Will there be a video that requires additional pre-event production? Is this event in one space or throughout an entire convention center? All of these decisions have a direct impact on the final cost.

 

#3. I Have an Idea. Who Can Do It?

Beyond securing the venue, hiring a caterer, and booking speakers, you likely have a ton of ideas you’d like to incorporate into your event, but aren’t sure how to find the right company to hire. Power generators, live entertainment, and special requests can be difficult and time-consuming to pin down. You may start with an online search, but unless you know someone who’s hired jugglers before, you’ll be left guessing about entertainment at the company’s circus-themed sales meeting.

Instead of wasting hours on Google or asking AI, talk to your event production company, venue management, or other vendors to help source and manage the particulars. This isn’t their first time around the block. They’ve seen everything and are likely to have the name of someone who can fill your request, or they may even be able to make it happen for you.

 

#4. How Long Does it Take to Set Up An Event?

One of the most exciting parts of event planning is the moment the venue doors open, and setup begins. It can also be the most nerve-wracking since every action is up against a hard and fast deadline.

“That’s when planning is critical,” said Sr. Project Manager Steve "Shep" Shepard. “You need to know what you are doing from the moment you hit the ground.”

Like cost, the time required to set up depends on the size and location of the event. For an event that begins in the morning, such as a conference or convention, setup will begin 24 hours before or more depending on the time needed for rehearsals with speakers and performers.

You need to know what you are doing from the moment you hit the ground.

Depending on your venue and the booking, there may be only limited time for setting up check-in. Staying in touch with your event production team and other vendors about advance access to the venue will help them prepare their teams and design an efficient setup.

 

#5. How Can We Integrate Our Brand?

Your creative team should take an "experience-first" approach to design. They should look at what the audiences will see and experience and then create a brand that reinforces and enhances the audience's journey.

Event brands must be scalable across many different mediums and applications. The event brand is visible in every aspect of any event, from badges, registration, swag, and wayfinding to staging, scenic, content, and any ancillary activities.

On top of being easily legible across mediums, the event visuals need to be unique. If you go to an event and the hero image is a stock photo you feel like you’ve seen before, it feels less special, and you lose the “wow” factor that’s a foundational part of a successful event experience.

A huge part of event planning is about keeping a brand top of mind. When a creative team is empowered to spearhead creative and design across the event, it allows them to be more innovative and less concerned about “the rules” because consistency is built into their team. It allows them to stretch the bounds of the brand so that the result is cohesive but interesting and nuanced.

Don’t spend hours struggling to create a PowerPoint on your own. Find a production partner that has a creative team that is there to help. Have a conversation with them and identify your objectives and the message you want to get across.

 

#6. What About Live Streaming?

Audiences expect to have a virtual component to their events – whether real-time streaming or downloadable videos to watch later.

The most important thing is to make sure they can watch without interruptions. And that means you want as much bandwidth as possible. If you have a lot of people at home on the same network and people are gaming or downloading movies, that could affect the transmission. So, it’s a good idea to get people to reduce their usage—to send guidance out ahead of time.

"If live streaming is something your company is considering, it helps the planning process to speak with the event production team early,” said Staged Technical Director Chris Casimiro.

In general, clients should prepare as they would for any live event. That is, they should follow the same procedure to prepare for a streaming event as for a live one.

At the production level, you want to make sure you have the technological elements that are appropriate to a streaming situation. If clients have a larger budget, you are going to want broadcast-level cameras, lighting, and sound. All the higher-end audiovisual elements you can bring will make your livestream event look that much better. What you put in is what you're going to get out of it.

If live streaming is something your company is considering, it helps the planning process to speak with the event production team early.

Communicating with the event production team not only helps you get the kind of live-streaming experience you’re looking for, but you can also explore innovative options that will take the event to the next level.

 

#7. What Happens If There’s a Problem or a Last-Minute Change?

This is where having a solid plan and an experienced team really matter. No matter how much you’ve tried to anticipate issues, something unexpected sometimes happens. Here are a few things we’ve learned about keeping cool under the pressure of live events.

We try to ease the pain as much as we can and find solutions that align with their vision.

Communication is key – Do it early and often. If a problem or last-minute change arises, let your vendors and production team know as soon as possible.

Stay calm – Take a deep breath and compose your thoughts. You will need to keep cool when talking to your vendors about options and giving your team directions on how to make changes happen.

Trust in your team – Your staff has been working toward this moment for months. Your event production team, venue management, and other event vendors are professional, ready to handle even the craziest of challenges. Once you’ve directed them to act, focus on your role.

Shepard, who has more than 20 years of experience in event production, tells his team to expect constant change. He said when a client has a change or problem, he keeps a positive attitude and focuses on doing what he can to help.

“When a client comes to us and they are nervous, it’s our job to stay solutions-focused and to help bring their event to life. We really try to tell them not what we can’t do, but what we can do,” said Shepard. “We try to ease the pain as much as we can and find solutions that align with their vision.”

Need more expert advice on event planning? Download our latest eBook "The Stagedge Events Playbook: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Event a Success" for FREE

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