Lessons Learned from My First Event
We are told from a young age to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s”. The practical application for this expression has never been so clear in my mind until working on my first major event as an Account Coordinator.
On Tuesday, January 13, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) held the grand opening for the new A-B Pier Connector. This event unveiled a new space in the Domestic Terminal, including “new gates, an expedited baggage system, seismic upgrades and a bunch of new places for travellers to eat and shop.” The event also the featured the unveiling of a stunning work of art by First Nations artist Marianne Nicolson.
Here is what I learned while working on this event:
1) Once the event date is set, create an event plan, including detailed budget, timeline, and event details. The more bases you cover leading up to the event, the more prepared you are to ensure the event is a success on the day.
2) If there are technical requirements, do a run through. You don’t want to be on the other side of the building only to realize your walkie-talkies don’t work during a big unveil. For the YVR event, I watched the project leads test each tech detail before the big day.
3) It matters how the room is arranged. When planning your layout, think about where you want most of the crowd to be and place something important there, such as food. Also think of where people should be looking; if there is a speaker, don’t use round tables so people have to uncomfortably crane their necks.
4) Treat a speech as a highlights reel. Ensure speakers know their allocated time frame and give the key points only.
5) A smile goes a long way. At the end of the day, everyone would rather work with positive people. Treat every challenge as an opportunity to do your best for the client, treat every guest like they are important, and receive feedback and compliments graciously.
One of the most exciting parts of event planning is that you can see your hard work unfold in front of your eyes. You can watch the crowd react, and witness the client’s expressions. It is rewarding work and I look forward to being a part of more events.