Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, the visual event planner

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

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(our actual walk through – take lots of pictures)

If YOU are like me, YOU need to see things drawn out before YOU in order to fully understand what YOU are doing. I have been struggling for a few weeks with the floor plan of the venue for my upcoming event, Walk for Memories. We had done a walk through a month ago. I had never used that space before, in fact this is my first year planning this event. So when I left the first walk through, I didn’t have enough information, I didn’t ask the right questions, and all I had to show for it was a paper copy of the floor plan. By the time I got back to the office, my spatial memory had vanished and I just couldn’t wrap my head around what 80 feet really looked like. I struggled with table placement and where to put displays as there just didn’t seem like enough room. Finally I had to bite the bullet and head back to the venue.

Armed with a list of issues, a tape measure, and some sample display items, my colleagues and I headed to the venue and spent over an hour planning the placement of all the elements of the event. We tested the displays, how to hang them, what sticking medium would work best on the various surfaces. We measured tables and laid them out on the floor where we pictured them. We sought out electrical plugs, looked at how the light came into the room for pictures, and tested the acoustics.

I left feeling accomplished, feeling that I finally understood the space and feeling good about what we had planned. If you are like me, 80 feet means nothing to YOU. My brain does not understand what 80 feet looks like. I need to be in the space. I need to play with different formulas for the layout, try to foresee where things could go wrong. The best way to do this is to ensure that the people YOU bring with YOU on your walk through also have event planning experience and can offer different perspective. Perhaps they will see a problem YOU didn’t anticipate. And as I have said before in my blog posts, a big part of event planning is predicting the things that could go wrong and planning for them.

Here are some tips for your next venue walk through:

  1. Bring a tape measure and know the dimensions of the tables, booths, displays, tents, that YOU are using.
  2. Bring someone with YOU who can offer a different and practical view of the event.
  3. Do not be afraid to ask your venue coordinator questions before and after the walk through. They are there to support YOU. The more information YOU have the better YOU can plan.
  4. Bring samples with YOU of anything that YOU will need to assemble, or hang, or mount the day of the event. Something YOU assumed would be easy, might be not work. It is better to know that ahead of time than day of the event.
  5. And finally, do not be in a rush. Take your time and explore the space, look for problems, allow different scenarios to play out. Prepare back up plans.

There will always be hiccups when using a venue for the first time. There will be things YOU will not be able to plan for until YOU are present at the event and see how your public interacts with the space. But the more YOU can prepare in advance, the less frazzled YOU will be on event day.

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