On Group Work, Reaching Your Objectives and Winning

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CCPR classmates with Event Management Professor Jentzen Brown at Movement for MukiBaum! Photo courtesy of Arabella An.

Centennial’s event management class has challenged us to work in groups towards a common goal over the last few months. When working together, a successful group will need to communicate effectively and delegate tasks, while sticking to a schedule. Simple enough, right? Here’s a breakdown of what our group work involves:

Communicating what needs to get done – over weekly meetings, plus online groups (we use Facebook and Google Drive).

Defining and delegating roles – a former CCPR grad suggested we break groups into these duties: Project Manager, Logistics, Social Media, Writing, Graphic Design, Media Relations (works closely with writer), Researcher.

Scheduling what needs to get done, and when it will get done – this is defined in your event proposal, which includes: overview, décor, audience, goals, objectives, critical path, food and beverage, staffing, sponsorships, budget, publicity, event roll out, rationale and evaluation.

Reaching objectives involves applying what we learned in project management:

* Developing a project description and defining your project’s scope

* Documenting a work breakdown structure, cost estimate and budget, and then sticking to a production schedule

* Documenting a post-project evaluation for closure after your event

Your event should be unique. It doesn’t have to feature all the same food and prizes that someone else’s event had – nor should it. Define your event, fulfill your goals, brand (and even copyright) your event so that the charity, venue, activities and prizes fit your theme. Aim to do something different. Make it memorable. A good theme tells a story that will attract media coverage when you seek it.

Sponsorships and donations: Ask. It’s incredible how much people are willing to give if you simply ask. Many companies align with charitable causes and section off a certain amount of money for donating to their community. Asking towards the beginning of the year is always best for corporations, since some fulfill their donation budgets by the fall. Small businesses in your community are great resources.

Since our group is planning a conference, Talk is Cheap, we ran into some difficulties with donations since we were not affiliated with a Charitable Registration Number. However, many companies and local businesses came through with donations – among them Marketwired, Serano Bakery, The Food Dudes, Eska, Steamwhistle, Sugar Mountain, and The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall.

Measure and apply. There’s a reason why Toronto PR agency Strategic Objectives has a record number of awards: they apply to win them. There’s a formula to winning awards, and it has to do with following through on the goals you set out for your event. Creating a strategic plan for reaching your goals on a timeline and then following through always results in success. Our program succeeded in bringing an event from the planning stages to fruition. Lessons were learned along the way. Money was raised for the community. Some will apply to awards and win them. But if you don’t apply, you’ll never have the chance to win. When I look at the people in my program, all I see are winners.

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