How to plan any large-scale event the right way

Vancouver’s Celebration of Light is a large-scale city event that really celebrates everything that is distinctive, hopeful, positive and optimistic about our amazing city by the bay.

Vancouver Island is such an amazing place to live in. It has clean air, clean water and a lot of happy optimistic, people. What’s not to love? Not surprisingly, we’d like to encourage visitors, as well as other cities in the world, by holding an amazing event called The Celebration of Light.

This is not an easy celebration to coordinate. If you’ve ever tried to coordinate a birthday party, think of this as the same festivities, but magnified 10 million times. A large-scale event is no joke. It requires a tremendous amount of patience and foresight. You have to look several steps ahead at the big picture.

Not surprisingly, there are also all sorts of budgetary and non-budgetary threats, and resource allocation issues that you need to be mindful of. You need to be aware of as many different issues as possible to ensure that everything gets off on the right foot.

So, how do you make heads or tails of any kind of large-scale event planning? Keep the following tips in mind.

Get a lot of time

The first thing that you need to do is get a lot of lead time. The more time you have before the event, the higher the chance that the event will be successful. This is an iron rule. There is no deviation to this because time ultimately is your most precious asset.

The great thing about time is you can turn it into anything. If you spend a lot of time in the gym, you can turn it into an amazing body. If you spend a lot of time reading books, you can turn it into an amazing mind. If you spend a lot of time on your relationships, you can become a happier and more loving person, and your partner will treat you better. Do you see how this works?

Time is like the growth agent of life. It applies across the board. Not surprisingly, if you have a lot of time for planning, this increases the likelihood that the event you’re planning will become a success. You just have to invest the right amount of time and attention to detail to square away all sorts of contingencies.

Get the right partners

The Celebration of Light involves both civic and non-civic partners. We have social organizations, non-governmental organizations, private individuals, corporations, and rank-and-file community members. Everybody works together towards a common goal. In this way, we tap into each other’s resources, maximize our labor power, and achieve more working together. As the old saying goes, “Together, everyone achieves more.” That’s the definition of a team.

Get everything in writing and agree to it early on

One of the reasons we’re able to mount this celebration successfully year after year is the fact that we are able to see eye-to-eye. Everybody’s on the same page.

The worst thing that you can do, whenever it comes to planning any kind of event no matter how big or small, is to differ with the people who are supposed to be your co-planners. If you guys are operating in many different directions, you end up cancelling or overriding each other. It’s only a matter of time until the whole thing blows apart.

This happens even in organizations made up of otherwise brilliant people. Actually, the more brilliant people think they are, the more of an ego they have, and this leads to even more conflicts.

The good news is with advanced planning, consensus-based focus, and a modular approach, large-scale event planning goes on autopilot. It really does. Everybody’s strengths are magnified and laid out in an easy-to-identify way. Plans flow quickly and efficiently to the many different parts of the organization, and the best part is nobody feels slighted, or like the spotlight has been taken off of them. There are no ego issues.

This is the way to pull such a large-scale event off. Unfortunately, many people think that they can carry an event by themselves. This is especially true when there’s a tremendous amount of ego and prestige involved.

This happens quite a bit with government organizations. By setting up the large-scale event in such a way that it’s an equal partnership between private and non-profit organizations, as well as charitable and non-charitable organizations, you set up a situation where everybody can take the credit and work together to make sure that nobody is blamed. That’s how it works.