This weekend I popped to my local hardware store to get a couple of things that needed replenishing in my event toolkit. I needed a new tube of super glue, some nails and a long-necked Phillips head screwdriver. These items might seem ridiculous, but after 14 years’ worth of experience running events, I know you have to plan for everything. And I do mean everything!
According to 10times.com events site, there are over 130,000 events going on worldwide each year. That’s a lot of events to plan for – so getting your toolkit right is crucial for making sure everything runs like clockwork. So, bearing this in mind, we thought it would be great to share with you what goes into my event kit. And if there are other event planners out there, can you see any gaps in my kit? Anything you swear by that I’m missing? I’d love to get your advice.
What’s in my events toolkit?
Accountex is the biggest trade show Xero does in the UK and this year’s no exception. On our stand this year we’ll have a 12 x 14 metre stand with 14 of our Xero add-on partners joining us. Breaking that down, it means, 82 plug sockets, 18 screens, 2780 metres of cable, 55 staff, 2,000 ice creams, 68 Xero tshirts, 22 lights, 5,000 oyster card holders, and one Henry vacuum cleaner. That’s an awful lot of things to organise and get running smoothly.
So bearing that in mind, my toolkit consists of the following – screwdrivers, hex keys, super glue, nails, screws, a hammer, an extra-long tape measure, pliers and a utility knife. I also make sure I have a stationery kit to hand too which houses; marker pens, a robust stapler, Post-it notes, packaging tape (four rolls of) and a pair of scissors. As well as tools, I always have a bundle of spare extension leads, batteries, VGA adapters and other technical paraphernalia to hand. I’m not sure if this would be classed as part of my toolkit, but when you work in the tech industry, tech kit is essential.
I also make sure I have a load of return labels so all our boxes make their way back to the office post show. The final thing I keep to hand is a first aid kit. Luckily, I’ve only ever needed the plasters and painkillers in the past, but I always make sure I have those, as well as, anti-bacterial gel, tissues, allergy tablets, blister plasters and a sewing kit. So I think I’m probably prepared for any eventuality, unless the show is hit by a tornado or similar.
Keeping your events staff happy
As the main go-to contact at these events, it’s my job to make sure that things go without a hitch, so I need to make sure that if someone needs something, I have it. And that includes keeping our events staff happy and looked after.
So, here are my top tips for keeping staff happy on the stand:
Make sure you have enough staff so people can have a good break – its hard work being on a stand all day and having a decent break is really important.
Have a fridge in your storage area so staff can have a cold drink.
Have a big fruit basket and a selection of snacks for stand staff.
At the end of the day, say thank you and tell them they did a good job
We’re all about surprising and delighting at Xero, so never expect to see the norm from us at a trade show. That’s why we’ll be serving ice cream at 3pm each day at Accountex (choose from VAT Vanilla or Coffee Bean Counting) giving away yo-yos, and teaching you how to do a few tricks too. And we know that staying refreshed is important, so we’re giving away water bottles you can keep and fill up during the show.
If you want to find out more about what’s happening at Accountex, you can follow the #xerovillage hashtag on Twitter to see what we’re up to. And feel free to tweet us your comments, pics and ideas for other accountancy themed ice cream flavours (our favourite that didn’t make the cut was the masterful ‘Debt By Chocolate’, so let us know which other flavours we should have for next year).