We often hear the comparison that managing an event is like a juggling act, and no more is this accentuated than when you’re working with external event providers such as planning agencies, catering services, AC companies, the list goes on.
The reality is that even if you have an in-house planning team to help you with logistics, budgeting, and keeping things centralized, like it or not, you’re still going to have to collaborate with these agencies who turn the idea from an idea to reality.
If you mapped out each of the different teams and agencies for any event you quickly start to see just how complicated things are. No wonder you and your team feel like headless chickens running around without any idea as to what’s going on.
Because with so many different agencies, managing an event instantly becomes a lot tougher. It becomes more difficult to communicate and collaborate - two extremely important words when it comes to managing events - and control is lost.
To really bring this one home, here are just some of the risks that you could encounter (or you have already encountered) when there’s a lack of collaboration between internal and external teams.
- Incorrect food orders
- Last-minute venue changes
- Speakers not showing up
- The events are short-staffed
- AV company making last-minute changes
If you’ve ever experienced any of these things we feel your pain. Yet, however varied all of the different risks are, they're all caused by a lack of one thing - a lack of communication. So to help you overcome this and more importantly, make sure that you never have to go through any of those pains again, we’ve drawn up seven steps to streamline the work of your internal and external teams.
📌 Step 1. Prepare a brand document that includes your mission & goals and share it with your external teams
It’s always important to set the scope for the external teams. The best way of doing this is to provide a brand document that gives everyone working on the event a central point for them to reference.
Importantly, this provides a general overview of the event’s purpose and what it’s trying to achieve. It forms the starting point of closer alignment. So stay away from the nitty-gritty details (we’ll talk about those later), and first, make sure that each team understands the bigger picture.
📌 Step 2. Always have an event planning protocol to share with your external team
Now it’s time to get to the details and this is where the planning protocol comes out. This should enlist all the required steps, possible challenges, and the best ways to achieve results. In other words, it’s an all-in-one that covers everything to do with planning.
Not only does this quickly solve any queries that the team or individual might have, but it also makes it easier for staff to make the right decisions when it comes to the event. By following the protocol they get a clear picture of what the event should look like and what’s needed to achieve it.
📌 Step 3. Have regular meetings and agree on an easy communication channel
You’ve got all the documentation in place to get the ball rolling, now it’s time to do it. When we talk about there being a lack of collaboration, this all comes down to another non-existent element - communication.
The first step is to have regular meetings with every team to make sure that everyone is on the same page and there are no last-minute surprises. Second, make sure that a single channel of communication has been agreed on. This will help standardize communication and avoid any unnecessary complications.
📌 Step 4. Get access and use the same event tech platform
To carry on with the theme of bringing each team closer together, another important component of this is to consider the technology that should be used. This really is the glue that binds all of the individual components of the event together. It’s vital to find an EMS that can be quickly adopted and compatible with everyone using it. Additionally, make sure that every team (internal and external) has access and is well versed in the technology.
Finally, make sure to check that your technology is fully compatible with all the different actors. In two steps, with Eventtia you can create new users, enabling you to share information and actions with other members of your team or external actors.
📌 Step 5. Be very clear when distributing the responsibilities
Clarity is always important to make sure that everyone involved with the event knows what they’re doing. There’s no doubt that this can really be helped with good event technology and strong communication, but it needs to be stated just how important it is to be clear when distributing the various responsibilities required for the event.
With so much going on at an event it’s easy for you (or anyone else) to get lost in their responsibilities, and when this happens the implications are huge for the quality of your event. This is why providing a clear list of responsibilities goes such a long way.
📌 Step 6. Set up accountability mechanisms
When there are so many different teams to manage, keeping track of what everyone’s doing is a real challenge, that is unless you set up accountability mechanisms. This gives each team and individual members much more control over their actions and responsibilities.
It also makes it much easier to manage because everyone knows what’s being asked of them. Each team should have its own set of deliverables with deadlines and this should be shared with everyone else. This provides much-needed clarity and an understanding of who is doing what and when.
📌 Step 7. Assign an internal planning team who’ll be always available for communication in case the external teams need something
When dealing with external teams it’s always vital that you provide them with a point of contact by assigning an internal team or team member who will always be available. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides reassurance for the external teams as they’re not left in the dark with any questions they might have. Secondly, it shows that you’re reliable which puts the external teams' minds at ease. And finally, it gives you a much better understanding of where things are and where things are going.
- Every event requires you to work with external providers be it planning agencies, AC companies, or catering services. The big ask is to keep control over all of your internal and external teams, especially when there's a major lack of communication and collaboration.
- To streamline your team with external partners, make sure you have the right documents and protocols in place. These form the starting point of streamlining your teams together and providing them with a clearer picture of what needs to be achieved and how it’s going to be achieved.
- It's also important that you create an environment that facilitates communication and collaboration. Technology can play a massive part in assisting you with this because it can centralize all of the teams into one platform, making it easier to track performance.