In our first installment of InEvent’s Backstage series, we chat to our very own event coordinator, William Rossetti Giacomolli, about event planning.
InEvent’s Backstage Pass aims to go behind the scenes and showcase the humans behind the work and the processes we go through to produce our very own events. Transparency is one of InEvent’s most essential values, and what better way to walk the talk than to lift the veil and give you some insight into event production.
In our first installment of InEvent’s Backstage series, we chat to our very own event coordinator, William Rossetti Giacomolli, who has been in the events industry for eight years so far. Will has worked with Melbourne Fashion Week, Formula 1, and UFC, to name a few.
Together, we explore the first step to event production: event planning.
Q: How do you plan an event? What is your first step?
A: My first step is to understand what we need to achieve from that event. [I ask myself] What am I going to work towards when I’m producing an event? Maybe you need to sell more, or perhaps I need to interact with my customers, so then I know what to plan. I get all of this information together in one document, so this is my beginning.
Next are the dates. Once you have a date, you can say, “I need to achieve this by that date.”
Then go to the budget. [Ask yourself] how much can I spend and what are the main things I can spend on. If I want an attraction there and that is my main goal, and I want people to have fun, I’m definitely going to spend a lot more money on finding a good musician and a band to play. But if that’s not my objective, why would I spend money on that?
What I like to do is sit down with my team and brainstorm the event. They’ll bring their ideas, I’ll bring my ideas, and we’ll put them all together. We go for crazy ideas, but then you start tailoring it and saying, “this is totally impossible,” “that’s not gonna happen,” “but this is great, we’re going to use it,” and from there, we get some ideas, and you can start planning.
Q: Talk me through your thought process when planning an event.
A: I think of the event as an experience from beginning to end. When I’m planning, I like to think of the event as if I am the attendee. When you’re live, you think of every single detail – when I walk in, I see that, and I touch that, and I have that feeling.
But when you’re planning online, you have to have that same feeling, but it’s achievable from different perspectives. You go from having a nice email sent to you, and you feel like, ‘Oh, this is beautiful, I want to be there. You can still achieve that, but you have to use different tools.
Then you move on to the landing page. [I think about] what I want people to get from it; this is what I want them to see and feel. [You can let people know that] this is a fun event or a serious event, and you can get that from the design and the communication of the event.
Will’s 6 steps to planning an event:
Step 1: Determine your objectives
Step 2: Gather information
Step 3: Set a date
Step 4: Brainstorm
Step 5: Think about an event as an experience
Step 6: Find suitable people
Q: How do you find speakers for your event?
A: We find people that match that event. Maybe you need an expert. We go to LinkedIn, and we go for top voices, people that know what they are talking about, and we like to have active people. People that do, they don’t just speak; they do.
It’s not just about having the subject covered but also to inspire people.– William Rossetti Giacomolli
We also like to have interesting people, so that their stories will be insightful and they will add something to whoever is watching. It’s not just about having the subject covered but also to inspire people.
We always look for people who will inspire and give our audience something. If you are joining us, I’m giving you that you will get something out of it.
Q: How do you prepare speakers for the event?
A: We put them all together, so we have these dry runs and 15 minutes of conversation, so they get to know each other. They talk to each other and share their talking points [so that there are no clashes].
Some topics, like diversity, are so big that you can talk about many different things, and the event can be disconnected. Once they speak to each other, they can connect the first session to the second session smoothly.
We also give our speakers a script, but we provide it as a guideline, and they can add stuff, and it’s a collaborative kind of situation. They write down their stories, we write down what we think, and in the end, we have the result, which is happy people learning from good stories.
Q: How do you create an online event that goes beyond the traditional online event?
A: Online, people are thinking, why should I attend this event? We really look into this. People should not only attend this event because it is an interesting subject but because they can do that [apply what they learned] in their own companies and use that content to grow and to achieve more.
Q: What advice do you have for event planners?
A: Try to get the best out of everyone. Sometimes one person might not be the best to give a keynote, but they might have some good content to share with someone else, or they might be good at networking. So try to get the best of everyone.
Q; Any final words of wisdom for event planners?
A: I always say, events, they don’t sell. We can have a lot of tools that will help to sell. But that’s not what an event exists for. Events are engagement tools.
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