After more than two years of working remotely and attending events virtually, PR professionals across many industries are dusting off their suit coats and blazers and hopping on planes to support client events face-to-face.

As we reacclimate to being “on” and in person, it’s helpful to refresh on best practices for supporting client events. My four tips below focus on how you can prepare to attend and support clients at an event, rather than planning the overall PR strategy.

Align on Expectations

Once you’ve developed an event plan, consider what your role will be at the event. It’s vital to understand what the client envisions. Do they need you to staff the media lounge and network with reporters? Guide journalists as they navigate the event space and sessions? Attend and facilitate media briefings with spokespeople? Monitor for media coverage in real-time? Or all the above?

To align on expectations, ask specific questions about what would be valuable to the client and provide recommendations on how you might achieve their goals. For more insight into managing client expectations, check out this blog post.

Plan Logistics in Advance
It’s important to think through the logistics to support public relations efforts at an event. Laying the groundwork early can help alleviate stress, foster alignment and streamline planning processes. There are several logistical items to consider such as the dates, the budget for support, and travel, including event registration, transportation and lodging. It’s also might be a good idea to book flights that are fully refundable. These tickets tend to be more expensive, but they may save you money if you need to cancel due to the unpredictability of weather or illness.

Review Health and Safety Guidelines

In the current COVID-19 pandemic climate, it’s important to pay attention to health and safety protocols. These include airline-related practices, local guidelines and regulations established by the event location host. Be sure to bring masks and hand sanitizer while you travel and while you’re on-site at the event.

Pack Accordingly

No one wants to be underdressed, in pain because they’re wearing uncomfortable shoes, or hungry and wishing they’d brought a snack. Consider where the event will be held. Will it be indoors? Will you be taking public transportation? What will the weather be like? Is there a dress code? Will you be walking long distances or spending lots of time on your feet?

Once you’ve thought through these things, make a packing list to ensure you’ve covered all your bases. Doing so will help ensure you don’t forget anything important.

Essentials to have on hand include:

  • Your phone
  • Your laptop
  • Chargers
  • A pen and paper
  • A map of the event space
  • An event agenda
  • Briefing materials about attending media, influencers, analysts and company stakeholders (e.g., executives, customers, partners, etc.)

Establish a Channel for Real-time Team Communication

Events can change quickly. Sessions might run long or end early, a reporter might request to move the time of their briefing, spokespeople might get tied up talking with attendees – it’s important to be flexible and communicate efficiently.

Before heading to the event, establish how you want to communicate with team members – both your PR team back at the office, and your client’s on-site comms team. Team members might opt for a group text, a messaging app like WhatsApp or GroupMe, a Teams chat or email. It’s best to work this out in advance and make sure you have the cellphone numbers on file so you’re not scrambling reach people.

Preparing for an in-person client event involves careful planning and organization. It is important to plan logistics in advance, align on expectations with the client, pack accordingly and establish a channel for real-time team communication. By following these tips, PR professionals can ensure they are well-prepared to support their clients and achieve successful events.

Stay tuned for a follow-up blog post full of tips for once you’re at an in-person event.

The post Tips to Prepare for In-person Client Events first appeared on Communiqué PR.