There is an old saying, the “6 P’s” – “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” This is true in many things in life and definitely applies to us all. Without thoughtful planning and thinking ahead of what we might need for an important upcoming event, we may not get as much out of our performance as we need, which could have negative repercussions down the road or our performance won’t get us as far as we would like to go. You can substitute any important life event here – a final exam, a big family event like hosting Thanksgiving, a court case, a fundraiser event, a yard sale, putting your house up for sale, getting married, etc. They all require a performance (i.e. hosting or being part of the event) and preparation for the performance.
So how should we go about planning for an important upcoming life event? With anything important in life, it all starts with a list. So get out that pen or pencil and your piece of paper and ask yourself the following questions and put down what you think the answer will be. If a particular part of the question does not apply to you, keep reading, there will likely be something in each item that you will need to consider.
What needs to happen during the event?
This question should be the first question that you ask, because the answers to this question will be the fuel that feeds the questions that follow this one. What is the order that things will happen in? If you can play the event through visually in your mind ahead of time, you will then start to become aware of the things needed to perform at or to host the event.
Who will need to be there?
In this question ask yourself who you will need to be there to put on the performance or event. If you are in a band, list the members of the band. Are there other people you will need to support you? If this is something big like a wedding, there will be many people involved. If this is something like final exam, all you will need is you.
As you write down each person that will need to be there, you should consider what is needed to have them there. If they are not a guest, will they require payment? Will anyone require special equipment? Will they have difficulty attending the event and/or attending rehearsals if needed?
Where will the event be occurring?
In this case we should ask ourselves questions like, does the location need to be reserved in advance and if so, what needs to be done and what will be the cost if any? How far away is it and will people have difficulty in getting there? If people are buying tickets, will they be able to afford them? Is there enough seating for all of your guests? If you are paying for the location in advance, will you be able to afford it? If you are hosting the event at your own home, will you be able to accommodate all of the people?
What will need to be at the event?
In order to put on the event, what will be needed? If you are having entertainment, do you have a place for it and suitable power if it is needed? If you are having food, what kind of food will need to be there, where will you put it, what preparation is needed for the food? Do you have a raffle or other activities planned for your guests? If so, what will need to be there?
What kind of practicing or rehearsal will need to be done to be ready?
If you are in a band, have you assembled a set list? For bands and wedding planners, have you setup rehearsal times for the group and confirmed that everyone can make it? If you are a musician or performer, what is your personal practice routine like? Are you including elements of the performance in your practice so you’ll be ready to go? If you are preparing for an exam or a court case, have you set aside time to study each day so you are the best prepared you can be? Remember practice does not make perfect, but it makes you a heck of a lot better.
What help do I need from others?
This is an often overlooked question. Frequently in a big event, organizers will often be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work needed to put on the event. Make sure you get some help and don’t be afraid to ask. Many people would love to help, especially if they are a close friend or loved one. Delegate to them some of the smaller sub-tasks so you can focus on the overall event. Also, make sure that they feel appreciated before, during and after the event especially if they are volunteering. Lastly, make sure that they have the tools needed to do their job to help you.
Suggestions – when planning for any performance, the simplest approach is often the best. The more complicated the event, the more points of failure you are creating, so keep it as simple as possible to keep things manageable. Also, when you have all of these questions answered as best as you know them, put together a master list or planner that contains everything that you will need to do perform your best at your big life event. Tell yourself the 6 P’s - Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. You owe it to yourself!