Planning an event can be very overwhelming. The timeline, the details, the cost, marketing strategies, location… this is just the beginning. Often times the stress of making the event happen can lead you to a place in which you ask yourself, “What am I even doing?”

I, too, have been stressed out before and asked myself that same question.

However, planning a successful event does NOT have to be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to stress you out, robbing you of the joy that serving others can bring.

Over the past 20 years of planning all types of events, in diverse sizes, and for various demographics, I have picked up a few pointers that I’d like to share to encourage you.

1. Determine The “Why”
Are you having this event to inspire and challenge? To see others come to a place of repentance and relationship with Jesus Christ? To equip leaders to better effectively serve? To promote an idea or project? To garner support from volunteers?

Determining the “Why” will instantly streamline your focus and point you on the path to having a well thought out, well-planned event. This is the absolute first step.

2. Get Started Early.
One mistake people make when planning, is underestimating the amount of time they need to bring everything together. Keep in mind that the prep time needed will vary depending upon the context of the particular event. The earlier you start – the less stress you and others will feel. Plus, more time gives you ample opportunity to vet your ideas and make changes without missing a beat.

3. Think Like Them.
Who is “Them”? It could be your audience, sponsors, speakers, security team, caterers, the corporate community, etc. In every phase of your planning, make sure that you are thinking about “others”. The objective is to remove all other distractions so that your partners can focus on their task(s) effectively; and so your audience doesn’t have to climb over obstacles to benefit from your event.

4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Let me say it like this… If you think you’ve over communicated, you’re probably halfway there to get your point across. Therefore, communicate clearly and often with both your team and your attendees.

5. What Is The Call-To-Action?
In other words, what do you want your attendees to do with what you’ve presented.
Remember, the win is not getting them TO the event. The win is getting to do something with the information you’ve presented to them AFTER the event. The proper win is what makes your event a healthy event.

6. Enjoy the journey.
This is critical, because it allows you to drink deep from the moments that bring together an experience that is going to accomplish something special. Trust me, you want your event to be born and nurtured from a joyful attitude, as opposed to one that is depleted, stressed, and burned out. Everyone will enjoy themselves when it is evident that you have enjoyed yourself.