Guide to events with NICVA

Guide to events with NICVA

NICVA has been hosting, running and facilitating events and training at its Belfast headquarters since 2002, so you could say that we’ve picked up a few tips in that time.

What we know about event management could fill several volumes but we thought we’d give a brief rundown of the things people think of less. It’s not comprehensive but can hopefully make your good event become a great event!

  1. Get in early

The earlier you start planning, the better your event will be. Generally speaking, you’ll get a better selection of venues and rooms to suit your needs.  You don’t want to wait to late and suddenly find out that your unusual layout can’t be accommodated.

If you run your event with NICVA we can use the benefit of our experience to help you get the most out of your budget and plan everything from your room layout to your technical requirements.

  1. Think time and transport

Put yourself in the shoes of your attendees. How will they get to your venue and back? Where are they likely to be coming from on the day and where will they be going afterwards?

NICVA’s conferencing centre is located close to Belfast City Centre and bus and train routes. It also has ample secure car parking and plenty of free on-street parking as well.

  1. Make it clear who is running the event

It’s far easier to communicate your message when it’s clear who is running the event. Instead of greeting prospective attendees with an acronym soup that assumes they know all the key players and their roles, keep it simple. Use one organisation name to take the lead. And if it doesn’t exist – think about creating one.

This applies at the event itself. A gallery of pop up banners might please the funders but they’re confusing for everyone else and terrible for photographs. Consider how you can rationalise.

  1. Get catered

If you’re planning something that runs over or close to one or more traditional meal times then people will expect to be fed. But custom aside, there are several other great reasons why you should feed your attendees.

People process and participate more when they’re not hungry. It’s science. Also, meal and coffee breaks provide an opportunity for networking and for the brain to process those all important takeaways.

NICVA has a range of reasonably priced catering options to suit your needs from our social enterprise caterer, Loaf.  Just remember – start planning this early – and think about specific dietary requirements from the off, instead of leaving it until the last minute!

  1. Get your promotion right

‘Build it and they will come’, some say. But they won’t.

Getting people out of the office and into your event won’t be easy.  If you’re banking on your event being a success and you’re aiming for a big turn out then adequate promotion is key.

NICVA can assist with press coverage and promoting your event online. You could make use of our weekly eNews bulletin for example. This goes to 2,000 subscribers and can spread news of your event far and wide.

  1. Cover it live

Why limit those who get to participate in the event to those in the room? You can amplify your event in several ways.

  • Ask for Twitter handles before the event, this way you can allow attendees to network with each other online, during and after the event
  • Use a hashtag – this enables people to follow all of the tweets from their event, and those who are there to see what else is being said in the room, and by who
  • Live video – Facebook Live is easy and you can broadcast your entire event, as it happens, with just a well charged phone and a small tripod
  1. Ditch the paperwork

Print outs of presentations? Really?

If your event can survive without a print out of something then just ditch it.

Branded USB sticks with files on them are a good way to go. But if that’s not an option, you could just email people things.

  1. Wash up and follow up

Everyone hates this bit but it’s important to take stock of lessons learned by holding a wash up after the event. It doesn’t have to be huge but merely cover off what you’ve learned and what you would do differently the next time around. NICVA can help with template feedback forms so that your attendees can have their say while they’re still there. You should also make sure that follow up actions are assigned and actioned.

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