Event management for the public sector

Tips for Effective Event Management

Monday 15 July, 2019

All events, irrelevant of size, will require large amounts of work and meticulous planning. Whether it’s an afternoon meeting or a weeklong conference, expect your fair share of stress and exhaustion in event management. As an event manager, the weight of an event’s success or failure falls on you, so there can be a lot of pressure to get it right. But remember, the satisfaction of being responsible for an event that was a huge success makes it all worth it.

How effectively you manage your events will determine whether they run smoothly or end up falling short. There are around 1.3 million business events held in the UK each year. How will you ensure yours stand out from the rest?

You can never plan too much

If you work out the minimum amount of time you’ll need to get your event organised, start planning well before that. There’s no such thing as too much planning, so as soon as you get an idea, start bringing it to fruition.

By getting things sorted early, you’ll save yourself some of the last minute stress and worry. If you have your venue, vendors, and any potential entertainment booked well in advance you avoid a blind panic a few weeks before the event. You can then reserve your focus and attention for anything that may go wrong or fall through at short notice.

While you’re planning, try to anticipate the things that might go wrong. This way you can troubleshoot in advance and plan procedures to minimise any problems that may occur. The key to a smooth event is to avoid any surprises, so plan with the worst-case scenario in mind.

Set clear objectives

If you set clear objectives for your event, you’ll find it easier to plan exactly what you need. You want to lay out all of your aims and goals and regularly revisit them during the planning process to ensure you’re meeting everyone.

Also, make sure the objectives are understood by everyone involved in the event. Whether it’s your own team, the people you’re hiring, or your bosses, you want everyone to be on the same page and working towards the same goal. Miscommunications are a quick way for an event to go downhill.

Be flexible and remain open-minded

Everything’s not always going to go your way. Vendors will be unavailable, entertainment will be out of your budget, and you’re not going to get everything right the first time around. It’s important you’re flexible and don’t sweat the small stuff.

You don’t want to set your heart on a specific venue and then face disappointment upon finding out it's already booked for your dates. By staying open-minded you’ll ease some of the stress. Be open to alternatives and changing your initial plans, you’ll end up with a better event because of it.

Maintain your network

Being a great event manager isn’t about just one standout event. It’s also important you build a solid network for yourself. This way, you have reliable and reputable connections ready to go when starting new projects. You want to use your previous events to build and maintain this network.

If you’ve hired an amazing venue in the past or found an impressive vendor that’s going under the radar, maintain the connections even once your event is over. Then they’ll be on hand if you ever need them in the future.

Treat every event as a learning experience

It’s unrealistic to assume nothing will go wrong. You can do everything right and still have issues arise. While you can’t control every single aspect of your event or any problems that may come about, you can control how you react to your mishaps.

Take each event as a learning experience. Debrief everyone after the event and recognise what went well and what could have gone better. This way, you’ll know what to change for next time, and what you can rely on to work. Even the worst of events isn’t a complete failure, because it’ll teach you so much for moving forward.


We’ve collected a few useful resources for you to have a look over. Here is a handy checklist to ensure you’re covering the basics when planning an event. Or if you want some bedtime reading, here’s a list of books that might provide event managers with some fresh ideas.

Managing an event involves a lot of hard work and isn’t always going to be the easiest of roads. But when you get it right, all your hard work will be worth it.

At Civil Service College, we offer Leadership & Management courses that’ll help you achieve your best. Marie Taylor’s Event Management course will provide priceless insight for anyone starting out in event management in the public sector, including information about budgeting, audiences, and planning. If you have any questions or want to book onto a course, get in touch on 020 8069 9000.


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