Staging Connections’ Chris Lewis shares the reasons why collaboration and communication are essential to seamless event management.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past 20 years doing a job I really love, and along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to deliver a successful event. In my experience collaboration and communication are key priorities to ensuring a cohesive team works towards the shared goal of an outstanding event. For large-scale events collaboration and communication catapult to a whole new dimension, yet the same principles apply.

Assembling the right suppliers to deliver consistently is imperative. While face-to-face communication is the ideal it is not always possible. The reality of the 24/7 dynamic industry we work in and the geographic spread of external suppliers requires an organised and structured approach to communication. Some of the strategies for building relationships that have worked best for me are:

  1. Get to know your team and share your ideas and vision.
  2. Communicate clearly and respectfully and listen to each team member’s opinions and ideas.
  3. Establish and clarify the parameters of the professional collaboration including: roles, timings and delivery expectations.

A case in point is the recent 105th Rotary International Convention. I had the privilege of being the event director and leading the Staging Connections team from the pitch, the win and through to delivery. I was responsible for managing every aspect of the largest event held in Australia in 10 years – hosting 19,000 delegates from 150 countries across a four-day program with 34 event sessions. We were lucky enough to work closely with teams from Staging Rentals and Construction Services, TDC, PRG, Norwest Productions, Murray Tregonning, and many others to deliver what has been applauded by the industry as one of the smoothest running events in a very long time.

Given the relatively short planning period of three months, collaboration was paramount. A tried and tested approach was employed, commencing with a face-to-face meeting attended by all stakeholders, followed by a schedule of group Skype calls, and regular one-on-one weekly phone calls to tie all the pieces together. As the event drew closer the Skype calls increased to twice weekly, then all partners were required onsite throughout the bump in and rehearsal period. A simple process in theory but this really was the secret to our success.

The whole events industry revolves around collaboration, so communication and building professional relationships are the key to a successful event.