As I write down these thoughts I'm neck-deep in preparations for our annual state Youth Convention. A few thousand teenagers will descend upon Syracuse in a couple months, all with the hopes of having a wonderful weekend. Between the services, the Fine Arts Festival and the Convoy of Hope outreach there will be over 150 people working behind the scenes to make that hope a reality.
I know I've done a good job planning when I'm not running around at Convention like the proverbial headless chicken. My goal is to work hard enough and plan smart enough that I can actually enjoy the weekend, attentively host the speaker and spend time in meaningful conversation with other leaders.
Here's five ways to think as you plan events:
Communicate the big picture...what's the vision? What's the purpose of the event? Communicate it often. We can get so drawn into the details that we can't see the forest for the trees. A well-run event without a clear purpose is a shell of what it should be.
How can you leverage the event to create long-term impact? That may mean reevaluating the components, the emphasis and/or the budget allocations of the event. It has to be more than an event; think sustainable and transferable. How is your event helping the local church make disciples?
The #1 key to pulling off events? Get the right people in the right place. Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak and who are proven leaders. One other key: surround yourself with people who will buffer you from onsite drama and not create or exacerbate it.
I'm not a list maker. But at event time I depend on them. Create checklists, timelines and systems to both serve the event and make it sustainable in the future. If I'm not here next year, a team should be able to take my lists and run it.
Thank your team before, during and afterwards. A handwritten note, public recognition, a pat on the back in the midst of the event, a small gift, etc... Those things make a difference. Be gracious. Be grateful. You haven't done it alone!
Be sure to follow David on Twitter: @DavidHertweck