One of the biggest pain points for those planning events is managing all of your event to-dos in one place. In the old days, Type-A event planners would resort to an Excel spreadsheet, or a wall filled with Post-it Notes ordered chronologically.
The problem with using Excel or other methods of managing your to-do list to plan a professional event is that these tools don’t give event organizers the needed visibility to get things done while keeping the big picture in mind. These tools also don’t support in-platform communication, meaning that organizers waste time sending email or arranging logistics meetings instead of getting real work done.
At Bizzabo we’ve worked with over 6,000 clients who use our event management software to plan events. A common theme among those who are extremely successful is that they are willing to incorporate new powerful tools into their event planning toolbox to get things done more efficiently.
Trello is one of those tools that organizers should add; here’s how to setup an effective event planning board on Trello.
Step 1: Break Down Your Event In Phases
Planning a successful professional event is no small task. Typically it involves a number of different parties working together to get things done. By breaking down your event into phases, you’ll have a better understanding of what your busy periods will be so that you can plan your time and your staff’s time accordingly.
To do this, we created three event phases (pre, during, and post event) and used separate Trello lists to visualize each phase. We also created an accompanying “completed” list for each phase to get a better sense of productivity during a given time period.
Step 2: Invite Trello Team Members And Add Tasks
Rather than setting up a meeting to brainstorm all of the to-dos related to planning your event, you can simply invite team members to your Trello board and encourage them to add cards to the appropriate lists you’ve created.
Be sure to ask your team members to label and assign a due date to each card so that you can better understand what needs to be done with a simple glance at the Trello board.
In the board pictured above, the three labels we’re using are “Marketing,” “Staffing/Management,” and “Event Logistics.” For things like activating a PPC ad campaign we use the “Marketing” label, or things like recruiting event volunteers we use “Staffing/Management,” and for things like handing out swag pages to keynote speakers we use the “Event Logistics” label.
Once your team has added all of their tasks to the board, it’s time to take a step back and see if you can condense cards into mini-projects.
In the image below, you can see that we created a checklist for the card related to recruiting event volunteers. That’s because other members of our team added specific action items related to volunteer recruiting - to make things easier we just created a single card with a multi-step checklist inside of it to track our progress.
When you’re adding cards, it’s also a good idea to attach visuals to cards where appropriate. If event organizers want to remember to follow up with a specific event venue without forgetting what the venue looked like, they can simply attach an image of the venue to the card:
Step 3: Commit To Using Trello Throughout Your Event
Regardless of how wonderful a tool is, it will only be as effective as the extent it’s used. Be sure to commit to giving Trello a try for the entire lifecycle of one event to be able to really see if it’s a good solution for you and your team.
One way that Trello can help everyone to be more efficient is with the in card commenting feature. Rather than sending emails to other staff members about action items, organizers can simply message one another within a given card. That way if questions arise about what the status of a project is, anyone can simply open the card to see the conversation that happened.
The best event planners aren’t afraid to try new pieces of technology to get more done in less time. Trello is exactly the kind of tool that organizers should consider trying to do just that.
To get started, simply add your team to a new Trello board, segment your events into phases, add the needed tasks to Trello and commit to using the tool.
In most cases, Trello will reduce the time you and your team spend worrying about what needs to get done, so that everyone can focus on dragging cards into your “completed” list instead.