How to Plan an Event: Tips and Tools for a Winning Event Plan

Event planners and professionals who have ever organized a conference or had to make an event proposal know how important it is to have a good plan in place – if they don’t want constant chaos and unnerving stress, that is. Whether it’s a product launch, a wedding or a convention, any event, regardless of size or complexity, can benefit from a clear, well-organized plan that will provide direction, clarify responsibilities, and ensure everything stays on track.

This article proposes a few simple steps and tips to help planners and coordinators create an effective event plan and manage it easily. It also discusses user-friendly event planning software and provides useful resources to get started faster and simplify the management and tracking process.

Event Plan

Best practices for successful event planning

Organizing an event can be an overwhelming process even for experienced event managers, and this is why they begin planning for it as soon as they possibly can – sometimes, this can be even a year or more in advance. The following steps will help professionals put together a coherent plan fast so that they can easily manage all of the moving parts involved in the event.

          1. Determine the basic event specifics

Before anything else, event planners usually ensure they have a good understanding of the event’s goal (what the client or organization wants to achieve through it) so that they can translate it into tangible, measurable objectives. Then they select an optimal date for the event, as well as a second-best as backup, taking into account the audience, religious or statutory holidays, and any other factors that may impact the event’s success.

          2. Make an event planning checklist

Once the goals are set and clear, managers can easily work backwards from them to create an event planning checklist that lists all key deliverables and activities involved in executing the event. These usually include - but are not limited to - details like:

  • Budget, logistics, catering and venue management
  • Volunteer management
  • Entertainment management
  • Sponsor management
  • Registration management
  • Marketing and PR activities

After mapping out all major activities, event planners can easily prioritize them, organize them into categories if needed, estimate the duration of each task, set deadlines, and assign responsibilities. This ensures that not only the manager, but everyone else on the team has a clear idea of what work is needed from them and when.

Event Planning Checklist

          3. Turn the checklist into a visual master plan

While a checklist can be a great start in event planning, it tends to be a more passive reminder of what needs to be done, and, in the case of large-scale events, it can get quite long and difficult to digest too. A plan that isn’t easily understood, checked on, shared and acted on by all parties involved defeats its own purpose because, for instance, team members may start to forget the original priorities as new opportunities come up or urgent matters approach.

To keep everyone on the same page and ensure the event stays on track, professionals may wish to turn their checklist into a simple, visual plan that clearly shows all the key aspects on a single page. One way to do this is to use a pre-formatted event planning template such as this one, which is a native PowerPoint timeline slide that users can download for free and manually edit with their plan’s data. More designs and ideas are available in this free timeline template collection.

Free Timeline Template Collection

Use an event planning app to easily manage your plan

No matter how carefully thought-out an event plan is, it is subject to change and it will need regular edits and revisions as the execution process progresses. While a PowerPoint template may provide a good starting point in building an event timeline, editing it manually to update the plan whenever changes occur will become a tedious, time-consuming task. This is why event managers often rely on automated tools to aid in their planning and tracking processes.

Using lightweight event planning software such as Office Timeline Add-in or Office Timeline Online will help professionals manage, track and update their event plan more easily and in less time. The tools were designed to be simple, familiar, and intuitive so that busy managers can get started right away, without having to learn complex functions and processes. Both event planning apps allow users to quickly enter or import their data and instantly turn it into a timeline similar to the templates presented above. Once created, the visual can be fully customized and updated with just a few clicks, as fast and as often as needed.

Event Planning Software

Although the two tools are quite similar in what they deliver, there is a major difference between them:

  • Office Timeline Add-in is a feature-rich desktop app that works on Windows and plugs into PowerPoint, allowing users to build, revise and share their plan right from within the familiar presentation tool. The plug-in integrates with management tools such as Excel, Project or Smartsheet, allowing for automatic timeline updates and data synchronization.

    Download and try the Plus version of the add-in for free.

  • Office Timeline Online is a flexible web-based event planner that works on any operating system, including Mac. It lets professionals build their timeline directly in their browser, access it quickly wherever they are, and update it on the fly using drag & drop. Once ready, the visual can be saved as an image or as a native PowerPoint slide to be used in important presentations.

    Make event timelines online now.

Event planning is considered as one of the most stressful jobs, but it doesn’t have to be. With a coherent plan in place and the right tools to manage it easily, coordinators and their teams can stay on top of their event and ensure its success.

Useful Resources:

Make Gantt charts online

Office Timeline Online Quick Start Tips

Office Timeline Add-in Quick Start Tutorial

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Alan Turing Timeline

Alan Turing Timeline

On the 23rd of June 1912, computer science pioneer, mathematician and Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing was born in Maida Vale, London. Providing a formalization of concepts such as algorithm and computation, he had an undisputable influence in the development of theoretical computer science. His ingeniosity and intelligence also proved invaluable during the World War II while he worked for Britain’s codebreaking center, as he devised several techniques of breaking the German ciphers. It is estimated that his work, along with his colleagues’, has greatly contributed to shortening the war in Europe by more than two years and to saving over fourteen million lives.

To bring an homage to the one who is considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, we have created the Alan Turing Timeline, which pinpoints some of his most notable life events, accomplishments and works.

Turing displayed signs of genius since an early age, beginning to study Einstein’s work by himself when he was only 16. The young Alan was so committed to his academic interests that, when the first day of his term at a boarding independent school in Dorset coincided with the 1926 General Strike in Britain, he simply rode his bicycle unaccompanied 97 kilometers, although he was 13.

In 1950, Turing published Computing Machinery and Intelligence, a complex seminal paper that addressed the notion of artificial intelligence and presented an experiment to establish a standardized test based on which a machine could be called “intelligent”. This test would later be known as the Turing test, and a reversed form of it (CAPTCHA test) is now widely used to determine whether the user is a human or a robot. Turing’s paper on computing machinery brought a significant and lasting contribution to the debate revolving around AI.

The Alan Turing chronology was designed with the help of Office Timeline, an easy-to-use add-in for PowerPoint that helps users build elegant timelines, project schedules, Gantt charts and other similar visuals with ease. The image is free to copy and share, and can be easily updated or restyled using the Plus edition of the tool.

Download the Alan Turing Timeline for PowerPoint here.

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Adam Smith Timeline

Adam Smith Timeline

The 16th of June, 2018, marks 295 years since the birth of Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. Best known for two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations, he is considered a pioneer of political economy and one of the chief figures of the Scottish Enlightenment period. With concerns that went beyond economy, he wanted to understand how the money system and capitalism worked so that a nation and its people could be prosperous and happy.

To celebrate the birthday of the great thinker whose works have laid the foundation of modern economics, we have created the Adam Smith Timeline, which illustrates some of the most important events and achievements in his life.

Born in Kirkcaldy, young Adam was encouraged by his mother to pursue his scholarly ambitions and proved to be a hardworking student. Soon after graduating from the University of Glasgow, he became an academic philosopher, lecturing on logic and aesthetics. His first work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, was published in 1759 and dealt with how human morality relied on what he called mutual sympathy, a term best translated today by the concept of empathy. Upon publication, the book brought Smith so much praise and popularity that numerous wealthy students from other countries left their schools and came to Glasgow to study under his guidance.

His second published work, The Wealth of Nations, reflected upon the economics of the Industrial Revolution and developed important concepts such as free markets, the division of labor, and productivity. Offering one of the world’s first structured analyses of what builds a nation’s wealth, it served as the basis for the now classical free market theory and is the second most cited book in the social sciences written before 1950.

Through his thorough work and innovating ideas, Adam Smith has become a solid guide to a pressing dilemma of modern times, namely how to make a capitalist economy more humane and more meaningful.

The Adam Smith chronology was designed with Office Timeline, a simple to use plugin for PowerPoint that enables the fast creation of impressive timelines, Gantt charts and other project visuals. The tools is available in two versions, Free and Plus, with the former intended for building and editing simple graphics, and the latter giving access to extra features such as data import, customization and update functions.

Download the Adam Smith Timeline for PowerPoint here.

Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.


Johnny Depp Timeline

Johnny Depp Timeline

Charismatic actor, musician and producer Johnny Depp turns 55 this Saturday. Considered as one of the world’s biggest movie stars, he was listed as the highest paid actor in the 2012 Guinness World Records and was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2015. Committed to the task of challenging himself as a performer, Mr. Depp has portrayed a variety of roles that have become iconic for his fans, such as Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco, Raoul Duke, and Capt. Jack Sparrow.

To celebrate his upcoming birthday, we have created the Johnny Depp Timeline - a brief visual biography that highlights several important life events and a few of the most popular films in which he was cast.

Although his name is almost instantly associated with Hollywood and cinema, Mr. Depp is a gifted musician too. Presently performing in the supergroup Hollywood Vampires along with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, he proved his musical skills through collaborations with artists and bands such as Marilyn Manson and Oasis, or for movie soundtracks like Chocolat and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Depp’s love for music seems to have started long before he even considered acting. Dropping out of high school to pursue a career as a rock musician, he tried to resume school activity 2 weeks later, only to be told by the principal to follow his dreams. Heeding the advice, he soon started playing with a local band and expanded his circle of influence.

It was through his first wife, the sister of his band’s bass player, that Johnny Depp met actor Nicolas Cage who advised him to go into acting.

The Johnny Depp chronology was built with Office Timeline, an intuitive and user-friendly add-in for PowerPoint that helps you easily create, edit and update timelines, Gantt charts, schedules, and other similar visuals. You can copy and share the image for free and update or restyle it using the Plus edition of the tool.

Download the Johnny Depp Timeline for PowerPoint here.

Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.


Marilyn Monroe Timeline

Marilyn Monroe Timeline

On the 1st of June, 2018, American actress, singer and model Marilyn Monroe would have turned 92. One of the biggest sex symbols of the 1950s and best known for her comic blonde bombshell roles, Ms. Monroe managed to build a legacy that persists even to this day, more than half a century after her death.

To celebrate the birthday of one of the emblematic pop culture icons of the 20th century, we have created the Marilyn Monroe Timeline, which highlights some of the most notable events and achievements of her all-too-brief life and career.

Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson, she overcame an unfortunate childhood and worked in a radioplane factory until she was discovered by a photographer and began a fruitful pin-up modelling career. Soon afterwards, at the age of 20, she signed her first movie contract and adopted the stage name and signature look that would later establish her among Hollywood’s most popular celebrities.

Her earliest roles garnered the large public’s attention and contributed to her winning the status of sex symbol and top-billed actress of that time. However, they also diminished her acting scope as they focused on her sex appeal and insisted on the image of the “bubbly blonde”. Tired of being typecast and underpaid by the film studio to the profit of which she was bringing significant contribution, she left Hollywood for New York to study acting and found her own film production company.

Initially considered as lacking star acting material, Marilyn Monroe would return to the screen and prove her skills by winning two Golden Globes for Best Actress and various honors at European cinema award ceremonies. Monroe’s battle for control over her career was ridiculed in the press at first, but eventually yielded a successful outcome, with her contract being renegotiated and more favorable terms granted. Thus, she became more in charge of what movie projects to get involved in, which enabled her to display a richer range of acting skills.

Striving to improve her performance, the actress is said to have been a perfectionist on the set, a feature that made many of the co-stars label her as difficult to work with. Magnetic on the screen, controversial in personal life, Marilyn Monroe has been imitated by several celebrities over the years and continues to be admired for her beauty and persona.

The Marilyn Monroe chronology was built with Office Timeline, a simple to use yet efficient PowerPoint plugin that helps you generate impressive project schedules, timelines and other similar visuals with only a few clicks. The image is free to copy and share and can be edited or restyled using the Plus edition of the tool.

Download the Marilyn Monroe Timeline for PowerPoint here.

Quickly turn project data into professional timelines

Build stunning, uncomplicated timelines and Gantt charts that are easy to make and simple to communicate. Get the advanced features of Office Timeline Plus free for 14 days.