A SMART Guide to Goal Setting for Event Planners

Goal Setting for Event Planners

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”  Tony Robbins

Goal setting is easy – decide what you want to focus on, write down your goal, maybe stick it up on the wall, and start doing it. What could be simpler?

And executing successfully on important goals can often mean the difference between success or failure, whether for your events, your business, or in life.

Yet we’re routinely bad at it…creating unrealistic goals that demotivate us; or goals that don’t actually produce the end results we hoped for.

When we set vague goals without a solid framework, we’re actually setting ourselves up for failure.

The answer?

Setting SMART goals.

By following the guide below you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve (and for more advice on how to overcome challenges and reach your goals, join your peers on the EventTribe forum).

Getting SMART about goal setting

Here’s an example of a typical goal an event organiser might have: “I want my event to be more successful.”

This is a worthy goal, but the problem is that it’s essentially impossible to know if and when you’ve completed it successfully.

The solution is to structure your goals to be as specific and clear as possible, using the SMART framework as a guide. This has been around for a while – because it works. Your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Related: 6 Daily Habits That Will Radically Improve Your Day, Your Mood and Your Events

Set specific goals

Your goal should be as specific as possible. Using our example of “I want my event to be more successful”, what does that actually mean? There are many ways for an event to be more successful: more attendees, higher customer satisfaction, more profitable, etc.  Be as specific as possible in defining what you want to do.

Instead of: I want my event to be more successful

Use: I want my event to generate more revenue than last year

Related: How to Create a Winning Event Plan (Plus Free Template)

Set measurable goals

How will you know when you’ve actually achieved your goal? It needs to be as measurable as possible. A good guide here is that goals shouldn’t be binary (yes/no, success/failure), but instead should allow a range of outcomes. For example:

Instead of: I want my event to generate more revenue

Use: I want my event to generate 100% more revenue than last year

Set achievable goals

This may sound obvious, but it’s important to set a goal that you can actually achieve with the resources you have available. Stretch goals can be helpful to keep you and your team motivated, but a goal that’s totally unrealistic will have the opposite effect.

Instead of: I want my event to generate 100% more revenue than last year

Use: I want my event to generate 30% more revenue than last year

Set relevant goals

Your goals need to be relevant to you and what you want to achieve. If you have a goal that you feel isn’t currently a top priority for you or your business, consider either dropping it or refocusing elsewhere. For example:

Instead of: I want my event to generate 30% more revenue by selling t-shirts

Use: I want my event to generate 30% more revenue from ticket sales

Set time-bound goals

Your goals need a deadline. Setting an end point that isn’t too far in the future will help keep you motivated, and will turn the goal into something actionable.

Instead of: I want my event to generate 30% more revenue

Use: I want my event to generate 30% more revenue from ticket sales in the next 6 months

Now we have a SMART goal. Rather than the vague “I want my event to be more successful” we have the much clearer and far more motivating “I want my event to generate 20% more revenue from ticket sales in the next 6 months”.

You might find that you have smaller goals that nest into your main goal, but for all of them, try to make them as SMART as possible.

Related: 7 Things the Most Successful Event Planners Do Every Day

Here’s one last example, and a good illustration of why New Year’s resolutions often fail.

Instead of setting a vague resolution to “get fit” as many people do, a much better (and SMART) resolution would be “Do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times per week for the next 3 months.” This is much clearer and more motivating, and you’re far more likely to succeed.

What SMART goals do you have for your events? Share them in the comments below!

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marino@eventbrite.com'

Marino Fresch

I’m the Marketing Director for Eventbrite UK and Ireland.