How to Manage Event Planning Information Flow
Keeping multiple groups on the same page is one of the biggest challenges event planners face on a day-to-day basis. While everyone involved with an event wants it to be a success, without a defined path for communications, there will always be a chance for details to fall through the cracks. Preventing oversights can be avoided by establishing an information flowchart from the very beginning. Follow the guidelines below for keeping all sides working in the same direction.
Be the Chief
Most events are a joint effort between several different departments, but at the end of the day, there must be one leader to oversee the entire production. Each person on the team should focus on their specialty, and understand the importance of their boundaries. Identify yourself as the lead planner from the very beginning of the project. Explain to your co-workers the importance of information flow and illustrate what happens when protocols are ignored. Since no one wants to be responsible for creating an issue, explain the rules for internal dialogue on day one.
The goal here is to pair workers whose responsibilities are going to intersect in some way. For example, the marketing department should be on the same committee as the audiovisual team to ensure all the graphics and logos are displayed properly. Creating teams that naturally need to work together will eliminate a lot of the redundant emails that tend to get lost in the shuffle. Choose one contact from each committee to report back to you with recent developments.
Posting deadlines far in advance will reduce stress levels for everyone involved. You can reinforce the value of your deadlines by creating a flowchart that illustrates how each committee’s work will be used to bring everything together. Employees generally respond better when they know another department is waiting for their response. Sharing this information keeps the process transparent and emphasizes responsibility without using negative action.
Keep Executives Informed
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to work behind the scenes until you are ready to present ideas to your executive leaders. Rarely, if ever, will you walk into their office and leave without having to change some aspect of your event. Save yourself this frustration by proactively meeting with them at regular intervals during the planning process. It is much easier to make changes in the middle of your project as opposed to circling back at the end.
Contact Your Vendors
Another seemingly innocent mistake that can occur is secondary communications with vendors. It happens when a co-worker takes the initiative to contact a vendor directly to share planning details that you are not aware of. The result of these side conversations can have a big impact on how the event comes together. The only way to prevent this is to restrict your vendor from taking orders from other employees. You might think it sounds harsh at first, but you’ll sleep much easier knowing all the information flows through you.
Being the lead planner for an event requires you to share as much information as you receive. Keep a master planning document that outlines the details of the event, and send weekly updates to all of your committee members. Keep your communications short and to the point. You want everyone to read the notes in your weekly email updates, but if you ramble incessantly, then you will quickly lose their attentiveness.
Managing the information flow of your events requires the same procedures as interdepartmental communications. Keep everyone aware of their responsibilities, and share important updates with all parties involved. The critical difference is that you are the CEO of the project. Your role is to manage all of the details that come in and translate them into a shared vision that meets the needs of each department. The foundation for success is making sure all information flows in the same direction.