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Tips for the part-time event organiser

By RICHARD WARD Published 10th Feb 2014
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It's a difficult situation. You already have a job and you barely have enough time to complete the tasks that it entails. Then you are co-opted or given the opportunity to organise a team building event.

If you're already busy why would you volunteer for the extra work. Organising an event can really make you stand out in your organisation, so it can be very good for your career. Often you will need to liaise with people in other departments and you may well get the opportunity to work with senior managers. It could be very good for your career.

Here are some points for you to consider when an organising opportunity comes your way.

Choose the company you work with carefully

Nothing is more important than this. As much as a well organised event can make you look very good an event that goes wrong can be career disaster. Choose carefully and, ideally, seek out a recommendation from someone in your organisation who has organised a similar event.

The best question you can ask a potential partner is whather they have organised similar events. Don't be afraid to ask to see case studies and references.

Accept events that are consistent with the objectives of your position and career

Some events are general, for example a team building event. However, sometimes an opportunity to organise a particular conference or seminar will arise. There are two reasons why you need to choose carefully; first the benefits that you get may not actually help you if the theme is not relevant. Secondly, and this really is the important reason, you will do a better job if the subject is relevant to you and interests you.

Start a resource file and keep it up to date

File away any relevant articles, ideas or contacts as you come across them as you do your work. Nowadays it's just as likely that this will be a digital file and Evernote is a very good tool for this. You will find the file useful when it comes to organising the event but also having a collation of relevant material will help you to get 'into the zone' when the time is right.

Create a checklist of important points

This is not so easy in year one, but if this is an annual event find the person who organised last year's event and interview them. After your event makes notes; what worked and didn't work, what could be done differently and who did what. Do this fairly soon after the event while it's fresh in your mind, it will be invaluable on future events.

If someone else organises the next event introduce yourself and share what you learned. That person may be able to help you one day.

Run a risk analysis

In simple terms a Risk Analysis identifies potential risks and outlines what has been done to mitigate them. Run through the event from start to finish in your head. If flip chart markers are required, take a spare set. If a presentation is being run using flashy new software ask for a Powerpoint backup and keep it in reserve.

Nothing is more impressive than stepping up with a viable alternative when everything has gone wrong.

Thank people

Ensure that important people are acknowledged at the end of the event. If you have done a good job you can afford to play your own role down because everyone will know.

Putting yourself forward to take on the challenge of organising an event takes courage and will add extra responsibilities to your workload, however, if you're ambitious it is also one of the most effective ways of standing out and getting yourself noticed by people who matter.

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