“Houston Remembers” and 10 Key Tips for Your Event Day
20K Group was honored to produce "Houston Remembers," an event commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at Discovery Green on September 9, 2011. Presented by Dignity Memorial, the event's focus was dedicated to those whose lives were lost in the attacks, their families, the survivors and the emergency responders who courageously tended to the relief efforts during the crisis and its aftermath.
The event went off without a hitch, and, more importantly, our client was thrilled. And now, we're divulging our top 10 event day secrets to you. We hope these tips will prove useful at your next event! We're always looking for new ideas and maximum efficiency, so please feel free to add yours to our comments section.
1. Create a Master Contact List. Instead of arranging your contact sheet in alphabetical order by last name, try sorting contacts by their organization and using different colors to identify each group. For the day-of, we also make pocketsize contact cards with VIP event contacts, like security and technical personnel, and laminate them for safe-keeping.
2. Functionality over Fashion. People might not remember what you wore during an event, but they’ll definitely remember if it was bad. By all means, look cute and professional, but f you’re a woman, we advise you to give the heels a break on event day and throw on a pair of flats. A recent addition we made to our wardrobes for “Houston Remembers” was the iPhone lanyard. Fashion-forward? Definitely not. But functionality wins out when you need to be in five different places at the same time and have calls and texts coming in at warp speed. You don't want to misplace or break that life force at any cost!
3. Rehearse. Rehearsals aren’t just for musicians. If you can arrange a run-through the day before your event, do it! Nothing alerts you to potential problem areas better than staging and timing the program prior to the real deal. We made adjustments to the timeline because of minor issues that were unearthed in our rehearsal.
4. Secure a Flex Space...with A/C. Many times event planners forget to think about a small but critical detail: where to store your supplies, purses, laptops, etc.. If available, arrange to reserve a room onsite that can serve as a secure storage area, a holding space for speakers and performers and an on-the-fly office for getting post-event photo releases out quickly.
5. Event Toolbox. Our kit is our safety net. We include pens, paperclips, markers, printing paper and, heck, even a portable printer! Extra press kits, site maps, clipboards, duct tape…bottom line: pack anything you could possibly need, because you won’t have time to run out for a last-minute pick-up. You’ll be digging into that toolbox more than you would think.
6. Trust Your Gut. If someone not directly involved in the event suggests a last-minute change and it doesn’t seem right, go with your instincts. Even if you can’t put your finger on it, your mind has probably already figured it out for you.
7. Have Business Cards On-Hand. By “on-hand,” we mean actually on you at all times. If you don’t have pockets, we’ve heard that hole punching your cards, threading a string through the holes, and tying them to your wrist is a great option. [This tip comes from Aimee Woodall at The Black Sheep Agency.]
8. Keeping Time. Plan ahead which tool you will use for keeping track of time. This depends largely on how closely you need to watch the clock. If minutes are fine, a standard watch will do. But if you need to be down to the second, it gets a little more challenging. One option is to add your city to the “World Clock” tab on your iPhone or other smartphone.
9. Eat. It’s so easy to forget to refuel with food and water during the chaos, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep your body moving and your mind sharp. Protein bars are a great option because they are portable, quick, and simple.
10. Have Fun! Don’t forget to breathe and take a mental snapshot of at least one part of the event that you helped bring to fruition. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing your hard work pay off, and you deserve it. For Courtenay, it was seeing the flyover that she had been planning for months play out perfectly in real-time. For me, it was simply taking a few minutes to sit on the grass and watch people enjoying the movie screening. These are the life moments you want to capture and remember as you motivate yourself for future events.