If you plan events …

Take that final walk-through before people arrive. Here are some areas that can make or break an event.

1. Are the restrooms clean and tidy? Is it well-supplied? Can people find the back-up supplies on their own? If there are port-a-potties, are there adequate hand washing stations? Don’t take the venue’s word for it — go through it yourself. 

2. Is there adequate parking? If there’s a small lot and you’ve cleared with public safety that street parking is okay, then make sure you have an attendant or a sign for overflow parking. 

3. Is there signage that starts where people park and direct people throughout the event? Don’t leave people to wonder if they are headed to the wrong place. An event should not begin with angst. 

4. Is there a welcome and/or sign-in table that is clearly marked with friendly people?

5. Do they know where to go or what to do next? Are there things they should know about before they leave the registration table? Things like raffle tickets are for sale, that there is a silent auction area, that a live auction will be after dinner, and/or that there’s dancing after the live auction and how they can pay for their items. 

6. Are the event committee members easy to identify if your attendees have questions? A branded polo shirt for casual events, a colorful top hat for formal affairs, come up with something that matches the theme. These ambassadors aid the experience. 

7. Follow the rules of etiquette that match your event. You know if you are hosting a Solo cup event or a Waterford Crystal event. Make sure everything else follows suit. If the rules of services are not the same throughout the event, the attendees feel it is disjointed. 

McCormick L.A. Events can bring great PR benefits Leslie A.M. Smith

8. Do people know what they can take and what is supposed to stay behind? Branded glassware at tasting events, for instance. Do they stay or go? Is there a centerpiece drawing or purchase option, are they your property or the venue’s? I have seen photos displayed on tables at Celebrations of Life events go home with people that were not supposed to take them. Oops! 

9. Do your attendees feel thanked and appreciated? Or do they feel nickeled and dimed? What’s covered in the price of admission? This will set the tone.

10. Did the venue staff and servers extend the same courtesy you and your staff/committee were delivering? An attendee won’t separate that. For example, if half their meal was taken when they went to say hello to a friend and no replacement was offered, then the event has soured their opinion, no matter who did it.  

11. Was it easy to leave? Was it safe? Have you ever left the Dolby Theatre and felt the crush of the escalators? It’s a bit scary. Hire security to manage the exodus and/or the parking lot in the evening. 

12. Were there hidden fees? A parking fee upon exit can ruin the whole experience. Be ridiculously meticulous with your venue contracts. 

13. After the event, thank them for attending and give them the date for the next year if you have it, or tell them where they can subscribe or check-in so they are the first to know about future events. 

Events have tremendous potential for great public relations benefits. If something is wrong, all that work becomes wasted energy. See it through the eyes of your attendee before the event begins.

Have a tip of your own? Please share it!

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. 30 years ago to provide marketing and public relations services to small businesses and nonprofits. She is the author of Laws of Promotion, a 50-page marketing guidebook for people with little or no marketing experience, available on Amazon in English and Spanish.

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