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If there’s one thing that all great corporate occasions have in common, it’s good planning. From event design and production, to venue-finding and entertainment, there are lots of balls to juggle. How easily you manage to keep those balls in the air will usually come down to how well prepared you are.

Nobody has summed up the benefits of preparation better than Abraham Lincoln. As he memorably put it, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. In the world of event management, the best way to sharpen the axe is to create a corporate event planning timeline. 

This indispensable tool can bring clarity where there was uncertainty. It can also act as a foundation that brings stakeholders together as you work towards the big day.

Why is a Corporate Event Planning Timeline Important?

Planning a live event is like climbing a mountain. You could do it on the spur of the moment — but your chances of success would be pretty slim. Having at least a six month event planning timeline can help you to methodically prepare for the steps to come, anticipate potential obstacles, and progress steadily towards the summit.

An event marketing plan timeline can cut through any grey areas and give the process a transparent structure that everyone understands. It can also improve time management, help you to allocate resources, and develop robust contingency plans. 

Ultimately, good communication lies at the heart of any great occasion. Therefore, a comprehensive event marketing plan timeline is the perfect way to get all stakeholders on the same page.  

The 6 Month Event Planning Timeline

A structured 6 month event planning timeline will give your occasion the best possible chance of meeting its goals. By assigning tasks into clear stages, it can help with decision-making and make problem-solving easier. Using a timeline as a foundation, event planners can work more efficiently and reduce stress — creating a memorable experience for guests along the way.

To ensure that none of the many important details are overlooked, each task should have its own place in the corporate event planning timeline. This will give you a clearer picture of what to prioritise and when.

6 Months Until the Event

  • Assign tasks: Start by putting together a spreadsheet that assigns certain tasks to certain stakeholders. Don’t forget to include deadlines and notes regarding progress and any hurdles.
  • Establish Goals: Do you know your goals for the event? If not, you might soon feel like you’re stranded at base camp without any climbing equipment. Understanding objectives is a feature of the 6 month event planning timeline that simply can’t be ignored.
  • Set the Budget: To continue the climbing theme, a budget is like a map — if you don’t have one, you’ll soon lose your bearings. A lot goes into a budget, so the more accurate yours is, the better chance you’ve got of event success.
  • Find a Venue: The right venue can make a massive difference to your occasion. It plays an important role in your theme and should enhance the overall experience. If you’re struggling to find the right spot, consider using an event planner — some might even offer free venue-finding.
  • Promotion: Think about how you’re going to market the event and ask yourself, does the marketing match my objectives? You should also have an idea about ticket release dates by this stage. 

3 – 6 Months Until the Event

  • Book Essential Services: At this stage in the 6 month event planning timeline, your plans should start to fall quickly into place. Of the remaining services, you should now aim to book event designers, event producers, audio-visual technicians, sign printers, security etc.
  • Hire Speakers: If you’re using keynote speakers, this is the right time to confirm their attendance and discuss their involvement.
  • Prepare for Emergencies: Do you know how your venue will tackle an emergency? Safety is absolutely paramount, so take the time to understand protocols such as evacuation drills.

1 – 3 Months Until the Event

  • Invite Guests: By this stage in the corporate event planning timeline, you should already have a pretty solid idea around how many attendees are expected. This is the time to make doubly sure, so send out formal invites to help you to firm up numbers. Just remember, if the location is hard to reach you should give attendees as much time as possible to plan ahead.
  • Check Orders: Get in touch with the main service providers like caterers and entertainers to ensure that your orders have been received. If your guests have confirmed attendance, it should be much easier to put a figure on how many revellers you’ll need to feed. 
  • Venue Coordination: Unless you’re using an event planner, you might need to act as the link between the venue and the various service providers. This means coordinating any last ditch changes to deliveries and distributing the venue’s own in-house schedule.

1 Week Until the Event

  • Finalise Transport: This is your final chance to make sure transport is arranged for guests, speakers, and VIPs.
  • Late RSVPs: It’s not unusual to receive late responses from RSVPs towards the end of the event marketing planning timeline. If possible, amend your plans accordingly.
  • Confirm Catering: Using your revised RSVP numbers, confirm the final headcount with your caterer. This is also your chance to ensure that all food and drink orders will arrive on time. 
  • Vendor Checks: This is your final chance to make sure that all suppliers are able to fulfil their roles.
  • Role Reminder: Debrief your teams to make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re doing on the big day.
  • Media & PR: Send out media releases to be signed by your guest speakers. If there is any remaining PR work — ie guest lists, press releases, VIP announcements — you should publish them.

Event Day!

Here it is, the most rewarding part of the entire event marketing planning timeline. This is your chance to carry out some last minute reviews before enjoying the results of all that hard work.

  • Check Setup: Make sure you get to the venue nice and early to check that everything is working. Your first priority should be checking that AV equipment is functioning well. You’ll also need to place signage around the venue, lay out place cards, arrange guest badges, test card readers, etc.
  • Perform a Walkthrough: Use your time to walk your teams through your event plans. Remind everyone of their responsibilities and make sure everyone knows how to find the toilets, stairs, and accessibility features. Guest safety should be one of your biggest considerations, so run through the evacuation procedure, point out fire exits, medical kits, and more. 
  • Final Supplier Checks: If there are any final instructions or order changes, this is your last chance to discuss them with suppliers.
  • Print Spares: Cover your back in the event of those what ifs by printing out copies of agendas, schedules, speeches, etc.

ConnectIn Events’ Timeline Tips

If you’re planning to use a timeline for your event, there are a few things you can do to make it easier. Here are ConnectIn Events’ top three tips for terrific timelines: 

Embrace Fixed Deadlines

Sometimes called ‘anchors’, certain fixed deadlines can be the result of factors out of your control. Examples of anchors include speakers’ limited availability and requests from sponsors to have a check in on a specific day and time. These kinds of factors don’t offer any wiggle room, so must be factored into the timeline at set points.

Although these deadlines might feel like an imposition, they can actually be beneficial. Rather than seeing them as a burden, view them instead as a way to set parameters. Once you know which elements can’t be moved, it should help you to think about how everything else fits around them. 

Trade Timelines With Suppliers

One of the most challenging aspects of event planning can be coordinating your suppliers. You can make this easier for them — and yourself — by getting to know how each other works. This will ensure that you’re both clear about what is needed and what is achievable.

Once you have an outline of your plans, ask suppliers how easily they can meet your requirements. Give them a copy of your timeline and ask them how they work and how easily they can fulfil your order. Ultimately, the more you understand each other’s goals and processes, the easier it will be to finalise plans.  

Make and Share Drafts

It’s important to accept that your timeline may well go through several drafts before it’s perfect. Each time you do, it could offer insights and opportunities to improve plans. Share each draft with colleagues to make sure that nothing is missed. You can even share your draft with suppliers and stakeholders to get sign off on plans. 

Finally, don’t forget to include some scope for flexibility. This will be your insurance that if something does go wrong, you have time to think about alternatives.

Event Planning Made Easy With ConnectIn Events

If you’re new to the exciting world of event planning, you could be excused for feeling the pressure. Live occasions are great fun to take part in, but managing them is often challenging — especially for people who are new to the process. Using an established events manager passes the reins to a professional who knows exactly what it takes to deliver event excellence.  

ConnectIn Events is an expert at mastering details and bringing plans together on time and within budget. Based in Manchester but operating globally, we’ve built our reputation by delivering amazing occasions for our clients. From live experiences to virtual shows, we’ve done it all to an elite standard.  

We deliver an end-to-end service that covers every stage in the corporate event planning timeline. Starting by understanding your objectives, we’ll handle everything from theme concepts through to event production. We even offer an amazing free venue-finding service to set the stage for everything that follows. 

Our friendly team has bags of experience with companies of all shapes and sizes. So, whatever industry you come from, you can expect your dedicated concierge to offer guidance, knowhow, and communication every single step of the way. 

To learn more about how we can plan your next occasion, get in touch today!