How I Learn to do Event Planning
After attending schools and uni for 16 years, I quite understand that I learn better by doing. So when I learn about event planning, I did not go to read textbook about this field in the first place, rather directly dived into organising a public fair (the "Sea of Data" Citizen Science Faire) at my company that I am working at. As I really like to share knowledges and learning, so I would like to share some of my experiences here :)
1. Attend exhibitions/events and study how they organised
It's always not a bad idea to do field studies and learn from others who have experiences. Of course, it's not easy to get a chance to talk to the event organiser. But you can always get the event brochures and observe how the staffs are organised and the flow of the events. From the brochure, you can find who is the organisers, where the money came from (sponsors), how many partners do they have, and what resources and support do they needed (production team, admin team, curators etc.) from the acknowledgement page.
On site, Also take note of how many manpower (crews) do they need during the event period, workflow, types of activities (workshops, talks, showcase, public events, tours, satellite events etc.)
You can do a case study on one of the event you have attended. Map out the resources and write down what you think they did great and bad.
2. Talk to someone who do event planning before
Doing so can help you gather information of where to find the resources. I recommend to create a folder/ spreadsheet to keep these information.
Ask for introduction. Organising an event requires many manpower and resources, so network is very very important. If you know the right people, they can help you to do the work more efficiently than do it by yourself because you still have other tasks you need to handle. Don't feel shame to ask for help and outsource work.
You can also ask them how they plan their event/project timeline. You will want to know how much time is required for each stage (such as finding sponsorship and partnership, content creation, design, production), which stage should do first and how they keep the progress on track.
3. Do online research
It can be helpful if you find some templates or online tools for project management. These tools can help keep your team on the same page. Keeping everyone on the same page is critical in event planning.
4. Take the lead to organise an event
This is the most efficient way to learn event planning. But the learning curve is very steep for absolute beginner (That is my case). When you are actually doing it, you will know what is the most challenging parts and your weaknesses. From my own experience, I recommend you shadow a more experienced event planner for your first time. Because it can be very stressful if you need to take in charge the first time while you are still lacking the resources and network.
Alright, these are the tips i want to share. I hope you find this blog post useful. Good luck!