Internal Event Flexibility

When planning internal events, it’s important to be flexible. Assumptions that you make before an event can be incorrect; circumstances during the event may shift; takeaway lessons from a completed event may become more or less accurate as time passes.

When planning internal events, it’s important to be flexible. Assumptions that you make before an event can be incorrect; circumstances during the event may shift; takeaway lessons from a completed event may become more or less accurate as time passes. Therefore, I’d like to provide you three thoughts that will help color your perception of how to run a great internal event. 
1. Don’t be afraid to change your event’s structure. While it’s important to have events planned and durations specified, feel free to be adaptable as unexpected situations arise. An event that’s going exceedingly well can be extended. Agenda items can be shifted as discussions move from one topic to another. As long as you’re on track to achieve your main goals, the path can be like ice in Florida, fluid.
2. Be aware of the requirements of each of your organization’s sections. If your organization is split into separate sections, each section may have different requirements with regard to length and style of meeting. When I was running the speech and debate team, the speech competitors required 30 minute coaching sessions. Therefore, our practices were 2 hours long in order to accommodate coaching rotations. On the other side, debate practices were only an hour as their coaching sessions tended to focus on the entire group as opposed to individual speeches. This lead to some awkward practices when debate competitors would leave earlier than speech competitors. Eventually, I split the practices which allowed both sections to focus on their sessions as opposed to who was entering and leaving.
3. Understand individual circumstances when planning events that require member expenditures. Planning and executing a social event follow a very similar pattern to your normal meetings. Generally, your goal is to promote friendship and cooperation. Your logistics need to be planned accordingly. There is, however, one additional consideration when planning for a social event: individual budgets. In an optimal world, the budget that is provided for your organization would cover all the expenses of the team both for professional and social events. However, this rarely happens. In reality, your members will come from a variety of backgrounds and will have different abilities to pay for events. Your events should cater to this diversity. While its fine to mix and match events that require differing amounts of financial investment, try to be as inclusive as possible. In addition, realize that many, if not most, people are not comfortable discussing their financial situation so you’re not going to get a lot of clear signaling on this issue. Optimally, keep most events low budget. Many great events can be planned with creativity as opposed to lavish expenditure. However, if people do need to chip in; ideally, keep it around $15 – $35 an event per person. As of this writing, the amount would purchase a trip to a bowling alley or a dinner at a mid-tier restaurant. Feel free to adjust this figure if your members have more or less means (or if inflation is rampant). There may be large galas that require more money, but these should held infrequently and for special occasions.

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