A couple of my friends and I are in the throes of planning our ten-year (gasp!) Teach For America reunion. Ten years ago, we trekked to South Louisiana to teach the most amazing children.
As we plan the three-day event, we've been using some event-planning strategies that I wanted to share with you.
- Make a detailed agenda: Even the most relaxed, casual affairs can benefit from having a detailed agenda. Once we have a clear picture of what is happening when, we can better prepare for each of the components. For our reunion, for example, we decided that Allison will pick up Amy at the airport and they will go shopping to procure everything we need for the weekend. Then they will return to Allison's house to start cooking for Friday night. At 6pm, they will travel to Terri's house to start setting up. At 7pm, guests will start to arrive. On Saturday, everyone will indulge in the free breakfast at La Quinta and then meet at the middle school at 9am for the community service project.
- Keep an ongoing "to-do" list: When we know what's happening when, we can talk through each component and brainstorm what we need to do in the days leading up to the event, during the event, and after the event.
- Keep an ongoing "to-bring" list: As we talk about each component on the agenda, a list begins to emerge of what we need to bring. It will be easier to create a comprehensive list if you keep track of it in one place and return to it over and over again. For example, as we were talking through our community service project, we realized we would need to provide drinks and snacks (which we added to the grocery list) and that we would need to bring coolers and that we would need to tell people to wear clothes that they are comfortable painting in.
- Talk through everything multiple times and visualize it happening: For me, this step is the most important. No matter how detailed or comprehensive everything feels, it can't hurt to go through it one more time. For example, as we talked through the agenda again and I visualized us at the crawfish boil, I realized that we needed to remind people to bring bathing suits (and I just remembered towels!) if they want to swim. For those of you who are visual people, creating a mental movie in your head can really help you anticipate things that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
Wishing you well...