Hosting events is not for the faint of heart. Some might even liken it to an Olympic sport given that there’s so many moving parts.
But if you’re the person who’s been tasked with hosting your organization’s next event, don’t sweat it. I’ve got some top tips for hosting an event that can help you wow business partners, woo potential attendees, and make for a memorable event overall.
Before the event
There’s quite a lot to prepare before an event, whether it’s a charity event, virtual event, hybrid event, or in-person. So here are some tips that will make all the difference in your event planning process.
#1. Set a clear objective for what you wish to accomplish
I’ll just go ahead and say it: this isn’t my first event. And something I have found to be particularly helpful in planning virtual events is thinking of a clear objective I want to accomplish.
Of course, this will be between you and your organization to come up with. Whether it’s high ticket sales, a diverse guest list, or otherwise.
But go ahead and make a solid intention to prepare for the work ahead. You’ll find that this gives your team focus like nothing else can.
#2. Have your target audience in mind
Of course, in coming up with that goal, you’ll want to keep your ideal customer in mind. What do you want them to gain out of the entire event?
Is this a chance for you to promote a product that they would like and want access to? Or is this merely an event for guests to attend to network and gain more information.
Whatever it is, make sure you create a solid marketing plan with other materials to advertise that makes your objective clear. Attendees will appreciate having that goal made clear to them in advance too.
#3. Hire an entertaining MC to charm potential clients
When in the event planning stage, you’re probably not thinking about how you’re going to interact with the audience on the day. So let a seasoned MC worry about that for you.
As Masters of Ceremonies, it’s our job to give guests a memorable night while also helping you accomplish your event goals. Besides, with a professional MC, you can guarantee a successful night.
Because giving you and your friends a night you’ll never forget is literally our job. So help us help you.
#4. Secure and prep the event venue
Next up, you’ll want to secure and prep your venue. Unless you have a specific venue in mind, feel free to tour different venues and stages to find what will work best for your event.
You might only have a presentation to give. Or maybe you’re hosting a panel discussion. Either way, you’ll want to find a venue stage with enough space to accommodate your needs.
And if you’re only doing online events, then all the more power to you. Just drop a green screen into the conference call and your venue is ready to go.
#5. Get people excited on your social media channels
Social media is the perfect way to reach your guests and target audience. So start advertising about your next event sooner than later.
You can come up with different content like teasing who the host will be or offering what public transportation is close to the venue. Furthermore, you can send out an email list and gather phone numbers to text updates about the event.
Either way, use social media to your advantage. It’s a place for you to directly connect with your audience and in a way, that’s the first part of your job as host of the event.
#6. Send out personal invitations to industry leaders
When you host an event, you want everyone to feel welcome. But there are some audience members that you want to make feel extra important.
So for those that you’re truly looking to impress, send out personal invitations. Give them a little taste of the presentation they’ll get to hear if they attend or of the corporate emcee you’re planning to have host.
And make sure to reach out far in advance. They may be getting invites to events from all over the world. So get in there quick so they can decide to attend yours before others’.
#7. Create a landing page on your website with event planning details
We live in a digital age and there’s no way around it. So for your event – and any future events – create a page for it on your organization’s website.
List any and all important details about the event. And even include a highlight of who the host or MC will be.
It’s not only an easy link that you can send friends to spread the word about your event. It also gets people excited for what’s to come.
During the event
Alright, now is when you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve prepared for this and now it’s showtime.
#8. Welcome guests at guest registration
If you want to properly host an event, then you should be the first face they see. Prepare name tags for yourself and your team.
And greet attendees as soon as they walk in the door. As an important note, this will give guests the chance to put a face to a name and a point person they know they can count on throughout the event.
Having this little bit of stability is surprisingly comforting for guests. So when they see you up on stage later, they’ll know exactly who’s talking to them and why.
#9. Help guests navigate the event venue
You may have some team members acting as ushers or helping guests find their way. But don’t be afraid to get in there yourself.
Make sure folks know where the food is, where their table is, who’s hosting, and where the bathroom is. They’re entering the event blind, so you want to give them as many resources as they need.
Besides, it’s the perfect way to make an example out of your organization. So be the event host that caters to their every need and makes them feel right at home.
#10. Bring out the corporate MC to keep the audience engaged
They’ll know how to charm everyone in the audience. And make sure that everyone has all the information they need regarding food, bathrooms, water breaks, the works.
More importantly, when the MC comes out on stage, this can hopefully be a time for you to let down. You’ll still want your wits about you.
But at least you’ve got the event going and a reliable MC you can count on to keep it going forward.
#11. Create an event hashtag for guests to post
Want to know a great way to advertise your event during your event? Give attendees a hashtag to post about.
That way, they’ll be flooding their social media feeds with images of your events’ success. And others will be jealous that they’re missing out.
It might seem like a small thing. But this is actually a great way to get people engaged and interacting with the event itself.
How many people did you say were coming to this thing? It doesn’t matter.
Everyone wants to feel included. And a hashtag to bring folks together digitally will do just that.
After the event
What? You thought you could kick off your shoes and call it a night?
Okay, maybe at the very end of the night when everybody else has gone home. But tomorrow morning, there are still a couple of things to get done.
#12. Follow up with attendees
Think of the days following your event as the next chapter of your event. The experience itself should still be in the back of guests’ minds.
But they’ll need some reminding. This gives you the perfect chance to follow up and see how attendees enjoyed the evening.
Additionally, this is a great opportunity to remind them of any future events coming up that you’d love to see them at. But more than anything, you’ll want to follow up in thanks for their support.
There are plenty of other places that guests could have been that night. But they chose to go to your event.
Now that’s a compliment. So compliment them right back and graciously thank them for their continued support and loyalty.
#13. Review whether it was a successful event with your team
Maybe this doesn’t fall under the realm of “tips,” but more so “best practices.” Either way, debriefing after an event with your team is always a great time to reflect and review.
If the event went swimmingly, well then celebrate with your team. Jot down what went particularly well and make a note to try and replicate those experiences in the future.
On the other hand, if certain hiccups came up, then address them. Odds are, not everything will go perfectly.
But this offers you an opportunity to build upon those hiccups and smooth out any bumps in the future. It might seem like a cliche, but if nothing changes, nothing changes.
So unless you want to keep running into the same obstacles event after event, take the time to address them head on. That way, you’ll be more prepared for any other obstacles that want to get in your way.
I told you hosting an event wasn’t for the faint of heart. There’s quite a lot to have to plan, prep, execute, and clean up.
But that’s what an event takes. It’s a collaborative process that can yield some pretty amazing results when done with the right spirit and the right collaborators.
So give your event a winning chance and make sure you’ve got the best team for the job. Not just within your organization.
But with who you decide to bring in to MC and entertain the crowd. It really is an art form to be able to keep an audience engaged.
So let us MC’s do that work so you can focus on, well, everything else.
Keep Reading: What Is An Emcee?
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.