Earlier this week I wrote about the initial stages of organising an event, specifically the first meeting you should have with your colleagues involved in the event. One of the issues I said you should discuss is the event objectives. I wanted to spend a bit more time talking about objectives because I believe if you are going to organise an event you do need to make sure you know the objectives before you do anything else.

As the saying goes knowledge is power, and to make a successful event understanding the actual point of the event is crucial. I do think it is important to stress that organising an event is a job in itself; it is an industry in itself and PAs cannot be expected to put together an event without this fundamental knowledge. It is a big misconception that because PAs have great organisational skills they can create an event and it will just be successful. There is more to it than that!

Event objectives and the questions you should be asking

For every event the objectives setting stage should start with these three questions:

1. What will a successful event look like for those attending and your company?

For the attendee, this could be a whole host of things such as networking, team building, learning, knowledge sharing etc. It does depend on the event. Do remember to find out what the company is getting out of the event too, after all, they are spending the money!

2. What are the objectives of each part of the event and the event overall?

The event should have an overall objective, but it is also worthwhile looking at each part of the event and creating an objective for that section. So for example, if you are hosting a conference followed by networking drinks, objectives need to be set for both parts of the events.

3. How will you be able to measure the success of the event?

What metrics will you use to evaluate the event success, how will this affect other events if this is one of many that you have been asked to organise? The pre-event planning can help you measure your success and keep tabs on what has worked and what hasn’t.

These are the three most important questions you can ask, but you would be amazed at how many organisations never answer these points before asking assistants to get on with the event arrangements. It can be difficult for an assistant to stop and ask these questions because they may feel their role is to organise not necessarily to discuss strategy. However, I would argue that it is fundamentally essential that if an assistant has been charged with organising the event, they need to know the answers to these questions and need to feel comfortable asking senior members of staff what the objectives are.

We have a whole bunch of resources for those of you organising events. Have a look at our Events Management for Assistants.