If you’re just starting to put together the team of people who will lead you from the planning stages to a stellar event, you’re likely wondering just what makes a great event organizing team. Not only do you need to find people who have the ability to put together a conference plan, but those people need to be able to work together and delegate tasks to see that everything gets done in time.
How to Get the Most from your Event Team
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Once you have the majority of your team in place, sit down with everyone (or have an online meeting if members are scattered across the country) and make sure everyone has the same vision for the event. Once you have everyone gathered, explain that you want to come up with a few statements about the event that you can all use to build on and then throw these questions out for discussion:
- What do we want attendees to get from this event?
- How is our event different than similar ones?
- What do we want people to remember most about our event?
This is a good basis for your first meeting. If time allows, you can build from there and discuss specific items you’d like to see at the event, such as a charity you’d like to raise money for and how, the awards ceremony, etc.
Get Your Team Working as a Team
One of the hardest parts of bringing together a group of anxious volunteers is that you have a group of people who are used to leading events. In a room full of leaders, it may be hard to get anyone to follow anyone else. However, if you have a plan in place, your task of getting them to work as a team becomes easier.
- Start every meeting with an ice breaker or team building activity. These can be anything from learning to trust one another to learning about each other’s personal lives.
- Ask a question at each meeting that highlights why the members of the team are there and how they hope to help. Understanding one another’s motivations will go a long way toward preventing any misunderstandings.
- Keep everyone in the loop. If someone is not present, have another group member follow up with that person to be sure they are up to date on what was discussed.
Handle Conflict Immediately to Avoid Big Blow Ups
According to Mind Tools, conflict is inevitable when you work on a team. However, the key is to handle the conflicts appropriately and move forward.
You’ve got a group full of planners. Planners tend to like to run the show. Start by making it clear who is in charge and who has final say in decisions. Or, if the group will make decisions democratically, explain that a vote will take place, how it will take place (show of hands, paper ballots) and what happens in the case of a tie.
Communicating early may help avoid conflict later.
- If two members are arguing, pull them aside and do your best to mediate without taking sides.
- Violence or bullying (even ongoing verbal abuse) should never be tolerated. If this is taking place toward one or more other team members, the bully should be asked to leave the group, even if it means he is going to leave the organization.
- Stress that there is a limited time to complete tasks and that spending time resolving conflicts eats into time everyone on the team could be doing other work.
Get Members Communicating Effectively
A great team communicates with one another. The person in charge of centerpieces for the keynote speaker luncheon understands that the centerpieces must be in place just after the breakfast event because the staff needs to set up tableware around the centerpieces. She knows this information, because the person in charge of planning meals and communicating with food services has communicated it to her.
- The team leader should touch base with each person in charge of different aspects of planning.
- The team leader should make it clear who needs to communicate with another member about what.
- A list of emails and phone numbers should be readily available so team members can communicate with one another to get tasks completed.
- Regular meetings will help keep the lines of communication open.
What Makes a Great Event Organizing Team is an Effective Leader
At the end of the day, the person heading up the event organizing team is responsible for teaching them how to communicate and have a vision for the overall event. A great leader will model good communication skills, set deadlines for tasks to be completed and touch base with everyone on the team between meetings to make sure the planning is going along at a smooth pace. Without a strong leader, even the most talented team may flounder.
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