Step 3: Define Your Event Scope

Your Event Scope is a high-level document that outlines your who, what, where, when, why, and how clearly for all parties involved in the event. 

The key is to keep it simple and straightforward. Just like the Grandparent or Neighbor Test with your messaging (we’ll get to that in Step 7), your goal is to be able to hand this to a new team member or stakeholder and, after reading it, they should be able to explain: 

1. What you’re planning
2. W
hy you’re planning it
3. For whom you’re planning it
4. Where and when it will take place
5. How you’re going to deliver it 

Here’s a simple template I use to outline my Event Scopes. 

This should include all of the logistical details like the event name, date, location, timing, venue, address, website and attendee estimate, as well as contact information for you, the project lead.  

Mission & Goals 
Here, you simply copy and paste the mission and goals you created when completing Step 1: Clarify Your Mission and Step 2: Outline Your Event Goals and KPIs

This section should include your event theme, one paragraph sales blurb, 3-5 unique selling points that describe the key features of your event and the reason your event is different from others.  

Also known as an “Agenda at a Glance,” your high-level program shouldn’t include the details of each session but rather simply look like time blocks in a daily calendar. 

In an easy two column table format, place your times on the left and high-level descriptions on the right (e.g. keynote session, breakout sessions, exhibit hours, meal break and the attendee party and/or VIP dinner).

Milestones & Deliverables
List all major milestones or deliverables (with their deadlines) such as the venue contracted, registration live, speakers secured, marketing campaign commences, signage sent to print etc.

Risk Management
Are you aware of your event’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? If you haven’t taken the time to conduct a thorough SWOT and competitor analysis, I highly recommend you do that ASAP. 

Completing this exercise will enable you to identify potential risks, constraints, assumptions, and limitations that will require strategies to overcome them and any elements of the event that will require a contingency plan.  

For example: protestors showing up outside the venue, rain during meal breaks when your seating is outdoors with no cover, a speaker not arriving in time for their presentation etc.

Here, you should state your anticipated profit or allowable spend (approved loss) so everyone on the team understands the financial goal from the get-go. To ensure transparency, I recommend going one step further and listing the individual targets set for each revenue stream so you can clearly show how you’re going to hit your budget for example attendee revenue, sponsorship fees, vendor kickbacks etc.

Roles & Responsibilities
To ensure no ball is dropped, it’s important that you identify each of the high-level roles required to deliver your event. It is by no means exhaustive--and yours will differ based on your event type, style, budget and scale--but examples may include sponsorship manager, operations manager, speaker/content manager, registration manager and marketing manager.

Once all of your roles have been identified, they will need to be assigned to the most competent member of your team/organization. During this step, you may identify roles which require experience and skills no one within your organization possesses. These are the roles you’ll need to outsource, which I’ll walk you through in Step 4. 

Team Communication
With so many moving parts, how can you be confident everything is tracking to plan and identify areas which may need additional attention? I recommend a weekly work in progress (WIP) meeting with each of the key players from your Roles & Responsibilities list in attendance.  

To ensure a smooth planning process, be very clear from the get-go how you’d like your team to communicate (Google Sheets, Slack, Asana, Hangouts) and make sure they have access to the documents and programs they require to be able to successfully fulfill their roles. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of the 7 Steps to Event Success!
Step 4: How to Source A Skilled (and Experienced) Support Team.

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