How to Take the Stress out of Event Production
by Daphne Kirkwood
Race Director Daphne Kirkwood has over nine years of experience in event production, and is the owner of iDaph Events & Timing. Daphne has successfully implemented many different tactics for designing, planning and organizing events so that on race day, the event runs smoothly and as stress-free as possible.
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Let’s face it: Putting on a race can be STRESSFUL. A lot of people assume that putting on a fundraising event or race is an easy way to make money for your cause. The reality is, it can be a lot more work than most people realize. As most of you know already from your event planning experiences, stress from planning and producing an event can knock you off your feet.
To help you stay calm, cool and collected, here are six ways to take some of the stress out of event production.
Tip #1: Attend a similar event as a participant or be a volunteer
When I was first starting out in the endurance event planning business, I attended as many events as possible as a participant and also as a volunteer. To get the full scope of what an event looks like from start to finish, volunteering or participating will allow you to see the moving parts and to be able to better visualize what the event production actually looks like.
This event day experience will provide you with all kinds of new ideas and will even help you think of things that you haven’t thought of before. It will also help you build your event checklist, which we will talk about in TIP #4.
Want to volunteer at one of our events? CONTACT US!
Tip #2: Build a dream team
For years, ‘idaph’ was just me.
While this was great when I was starting out, I learned quickly that on event day — you can’t do it all. There are lots of moving parts on event day: Portajons are being dropped off first thing in the morning, signs need to be put up, participants are arriving, volunteers are checking in, the fire marshal wants to do an inspection and the event HAS TO start on time! There are too many things happening at one time, and you will be pulled in many different directions.
Delegate! Find some friends that believe in your vision or members of your non-profit that would like to form an event committee with you. Find volunteers that you can count on to help you with every step of the planning process and be there by your side on event day. There are several ‘key’ roles that are important for you to consider when building your team.
Tip #3: Host Regular Plan Meetings
Have you ever had a lengthy string of emails going back and forth about your event with multiple people on your planning team? It used to happen to ME ALL THE TIME. The best way to stop the noise and get on the same page quickly is to schedule a meeting, which are best when they are regularly scheduled and planned around the same time of the month. Typically for most events, planning meetings begin 4-6 months out from an event. Leading up to the event, they will become more frequent.
Tip #4: Get organized
The best way to start getting organized is to begin with a calendar. I find usages for both the online Google calendar as well as a paper calendar. The electronic version is great for real time alerts, and the paper calendar is great for the quick view of what is coming up that day and during the week.
Be sure to block out boundaries on your calendar to make those tasks a priority. Next, create an event week timeline. For a free downloadable example of an event week timeline, visit our iDaph Insights page and enter your contact information into our Pop Up. We will email you a downloadable .pdf of an event timeline that has helped us stay on track.
Another way to get organized is to create checklists. I have been designing and producing events for almost nine years full-time and I still have checklists leading up to an event and throughout the planning process. Checklists ‘have your back’ and help you sleep at night. Having a checklist will allow you to have peace of mind that you have remembered all the tiny details that need to get done for your event to run smoothly!
Tip #5: Free yourself up
There will ALWAYS be issues to deal with on event day. I see lots of organizations that have one or two key people with many different roles, so they assign themselves multiple roles on event day. They are the emcee, the registration and packet pick-up person, the volunteer coordinator….this is one sure way to become a total stress ball during an event.
If you are in the process of your event planning and realize you are in over your head, and that you can’t be everywhere and do everything yourself, consider asking for help.
Tip #6: Ask the event professionals for help
Endurance Event Extraordinaires such as us at iDaph Events can help with at least one piece of the planning, such as your event marketing, timing, finish line, or volunteer coordination. We also know how to plan ahead, create back-up plans, and we can problem solve on the fly. If you’re stressed to the max, we can come in and relieve you off some or all of your duties so you can watch your event grow and become successful without pulling your hair out.
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