As the new event season is ramping up to full speed, we are hearing a lot about the challenges and issues that event organisers face.
Planning and running events is no small task but event managers can harness the power of digital innovation and also take inspiration from industries, to increase efficiencies and create smart savings! In this short article (we know you don't have a lot of time), we look at clever time saving ideas and innovative apps and digital solutions, to help you minimise some of the challenges and hassle you face at your events.
"Simple, automated, tech based digital apps can take away some of the logistical hassle associated with running your events. They offer smart quick wins to free your staff to spend more time on more valuable tasks, whilst also providing a higher level of customer service that will delight your visitors and turn them into loyal advocates.
It's a win win for everyone really."
Lance Plunkett, CEO, Found Technologies
3 ingenious productivity hacks for event managers
Pomodoro concept - The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system, nothing scarier than that! It’s a way of working that encourages you to work with the time you have (think deadlines). Event planning and management is often a race against time - Use the Pomodoro technique to make the most of the time you have and deliver more. How does it work? You break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. Each interval is a pomodoro. After about four pomodoros, you reward yourself and give your brain a chance to recharge by taking a longer break (15 to 20 minutes). Then you go again! One way to see how much you achieve using this technique is to write down the outcome of each pomodoro in your diary (which you can colour block into intervals as well, which can help further).
Sprint concept - A sprint is originally a concept used by software development teams. How can you use this to your benefit as an event manager? You define a short, time-boxed, recurring periods (something like 2 weeks). You create a list of all the tasks that need to be completed to plan your event successfully. Add hard deadlines and any dependencies (ie tasks that need to be completed first to enable other tasks to be done). You can also mark tasks dependent on a specific team’s critical input in a specific colour, to help you see at a glance how you manage your resources. Finally you evaluate how long each task will take and what the successful outcome of the task looks like (pick a unit - hours tends to be more accurate than days). Armed with this, you can play with your to do list to fit the best possible combination of tasks within a sprint, allowing some buffer time for unknown, and for testing/checking the outcome has been achieved for each. Then you go and deliver the sprint, forgetting about the rest until you have completed the sprint - before planning your next sprint and so on. Ok, so it’s a little bit more scientific than this (developers and scrum masters reading this might feel this is pure plagiarism - but its more about getting inspiration from a concept that is used very successfully in a different industry and making it work for event planners. We do not pretend to be experts in Sprint or Agile. But if you want to read more from an expert point of view you can check out this article on Sprint methodology from Atlassian).
Frog concept - Start each day by eating a frog! Eat The Frog is perfect for you or anyone in your team who you feel struggles with procrastination, or, gets a lot done but isn’t effective (ie-not getting the most important stuff done in priority order) or feels overwhelmed by a long to do list (now this is something that event managers and planners surely face regularly). To eat a frog, you identify your most important task of the day (ideally do this at the end of the previous working day, and prepare everything you might need - prints, downloads etc….. so you don't need to access anything like emails, internet, intranet or your phone to complete it once you set off to do so). You put a reminder about what your frog is at the top of your diary for the next day (We like to write it on a Post It note - again, that way you don’t need to open your calendar and minimise the risk of distraction). When you start your working day, you get that task done first; nothing else until it’s done! If it’s a large task, try to break it down into bite size pieces that you can eat through more quickly first thing in the morning. Ask yourself: Out of this large task what is the most important thing I need to complete first? Focus on getting that point done. And that’s it you’ve eaten your frog. Not only will it help focus your brain on deep attention but it will also make you feel good and more productive and most importantly get more done!
4 Innovative apps and digital solutions for event managers
Goodnotes - Good Notes is an awesome digital notebook (or rather a whole collection of notes books) for your iPad or Tablet. Note down, shape, & share your ideas. Make collages and mood boards, doodle ideas for your event, review and annotate PDFs, organise ideas in various notebooks….Good Notes can search your handwriting too. Super handy for you and your team.
Miro - Miro is effectively a digital whiteboard. You and your team can collaborate remotely to put together an event seating plan, map out and organise how you will use a venue, brainstorm the whole of your marketing and advertising strategy, ….There’s even a free version that allows you up to 3 boards, and you can convert your white board into a presentation slide deck format. This allows you to present directly from Miro and Zoom, bringing to life your ideas and plans. Whether you’re presenting to your client or your team, it makes the experience a lot more interactive and engaging.
RSVPify - This smart software enables you to manage your event from start to finish. You can create your event website from RSVPify directly. Use a ready-made template to get onto a quick start, then tweak and customise your event website and registration experience from end-to-end. Track your event invitees from invitation with RSVP link to registration to check-in. Boom!
Found - Found is the UK lost property, app based solution for venues and event managers and network that’s incredibly cost effective, time and resource saving, and perfect for events and venues. With Found (which is free to use for your visitors), any visitor to your event or venue who has lost an item can report it as lost in less than a minute - all via the app (and if they have lost their phone they can report it instead via the website from anyone’s phone, tablet or laptop). At the other end, your team logs into the Found Business App and logs any items of lost property that have been found or handed in. Found's image recognition software saves time for your staff by inputting the main details. Your team can manually add more information to help identifying the item which aids Found's technology in matching the item with its owner. Each time an item is reported as lost or a new item of lost property logged in, the clever tech runs an automatic search and looks for matches. When it finds one it alerts both your team and the person who’s reported the item as lost. Then it’s a simple matter for them to confirm the match and decide if they want to collect it in person or have it posted back to them. If the visitor only find our they have lost something after they have gone home, the integrated courier service enables them to get it collected by a courier and delivered back to them if they don't want to or can’t return back to pick it up in person.
We hope this helps. You can find more ideas on how to manage lost property at your venue more efficiently here.