Boost confidence, avoid chaos: The power of event run-throughs.

You know the saying, practice makes perfect! This is never truer—or more important—than with event planning. A proper run-through is vital to event success. It’s also a surefire way to reduce your pre-event headaches! 

In the chaos of event planning, it’s easy to forget about or pass on an event rehearsal. We get it. There’s a lot on your mind, and you don’t have enough time as it is. However, an event rehearsal will significantly improve event execution, saving you time and money. 

Whether you’re a beginning event planner or a seasoned pro, an event run-through should be a part of your process. Read our guide on leveraging an event rehearsal to ensure a seamless experience for attendees and team members alike. 

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The benefits of a rehearsal. 

An event rehearsal benefits more than just your peace of mind. It sets your team up for event success. We’re talking about your entire team, including presenters, AV crew, staff members, entertainment—everyone involved in realizing your vision. 

A key benefit of event rehearsal is coordination. Allowing separate teams to coordinate their roles, like lighting crew and presenters, will boost clarity and cooperation; each person will know their role and how it connects to others, leading to an event that flows smoothly! 

No matter how well you’ve planned, it’s all guesswork until you’re on site. Event run-throughs test your organization to find the weak spots or missing elements. It’s much easier to fix something in a rehearsal than when thousands of attendees are roaming around. 

An event rehearsal provides an opportunity to hone your contingency plans. Brief your team on what to do during common or likely issues so they’ll be ready to respond. If technical difficulties arise, you can fix them quicker, preventing disruptions.

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Organizing an efficient run-through.

The more organized your run-through is, the more effective it will be. Leverage your time management skills to create a rehearsal schedule. Include everyone involved so the whole event experience can be rehearsed, from registration to conclusion. While some will be there for the entire rehearsal, others will only be needed for their part. 

Your rehearsal schedule will be an “abridged” version of the event schedule, jumping from cue to cue and holding at specific sessions for long enough to test light and sound without running through the whole presentation. 

Rehearsal elements 

  • Lighting and sound 
  • A/V (audio/visual) elements 
  • Speakers/Q&As 
  • Demonstrations 
  • Activity transitions 

The event rehearsal is crucial for you and any presenters to get feedback on their content. Ask your team for their thoughts, and be open to feedback. Take detailed notes throughout so you can improve event execution everywhere it matters. 

One strategy for ensuring an efficient event run-through is to hold off-site rehearsals a few weeks in advance. These smaller-scale rehearsals clarify your vision of the event experience and how each section links to the next. Rehearse with your event planning team to find potential complications. Add these to the onsite rehearsal schedule. 

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AV & logistics.

Event rehearsals are the AV crew’s best friend. Preventing tech malfunctions is reason enough to set aside time for an event run-through. The last thing you want is for your speaker’s mic not to work or for the lights to shut off randomly. 

Give crew time on their own, without presenters or entertainers, to run through lighting, sound and video content cues. This allows the AV crew to get their minds around the whole show and ensure all the technical components work. Once they’re set, bring in the rest of the team! 

During presenter rehearsals, have staff members sit in the back of the space and use the mic to ask fake questions. If your presenter can’t hear, you’ll know you need to increase the volume. This simple practice avoids unnecessary complications during the live show

Pay attention to how the chosen lighting reacts with your presenters’ outfits. Under direct lights, some fabrics become sheer or have their colors altered in unflattering ways. Have all speakers bring options to test out during event rehearsal.

As you watch the event rehearsal, consider the overall balance of lighting and sound elements. Bright lights and cacophonous sounds might seem exciting, but they can unintentionally overshadow your speaker. Use your event rehearsal to gauge whether your lighting and sound hurt or help the main presenter. 

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Safety and contingency plans.

Safety is the invisible part of your event planning that supports the whole experience. If everything goes right, no one will know how much work you put into guaranteeing a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Do a safety walk-through of the event venue, looking for potential trip hazards and other risk factors. Note all exits and have a working understanding of all routes from the central spaces. The better you understand the safety procedures, the more effectively you’ll communicate them to your team. 

While you’d love to prevent all possible injuries, sometimes, as they say, stuff happens! In an emergency, knowing what to do and how to do it efficiently is essential. An event rehearsal is perfect for running through emergency scenarios and clarifying staff responsibilities. 

Measure the effectiveness of your event contingency plans against the layout of your event experience. Consider whether you’ve missed anything and what you’d need to do to tighten your backup plans. You’ll reduce event stress by pressure-testing your strategies before they’re necessary.

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Hybrid & virtual event run-throughs.

Digital-first event planning is all the rage, so you must consider additional elements in your event rehearsal. Virtual event run-throughs are just as essential to ensure all remote workers, crew, and speakers feel confident. 

Virtual sessions, whether run on Zoom or in a live-stream studio, present new challenges to speakers. They won’t have a live audience to work off of, flattening the energy in their space. A rehearsal will help them find their voice and bring live show energy to the digital stage. 

Technical support is twice as important for virtual sessions. If your connection cuts out, you’ll lose your audience, not just the lights. Test your setup and rehearse backup plans in case of

unexpected disruptions. Know how to run QnAs and manage chats to give virtual attendees an engaging event experience

If you’re running a hybrid event, rehearse transitions between virtual and in-person experiences or the points where they run simultaneously. You want to ensure all attendees have a fulfilling, personal experience at your event.

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Take a bow.

Perfection is a big word. We aim for it but rarely—if ever—achieve it. That being said, practice does boost confidence, increase coordination, minimize event hiccups and safety risks, and protect you from technical issues. An event rehearsal = planner confidence! 

While we understand you want to save time, making an effort to complete a thorough run-through will save you a lot more trouble down the line. Build in space for the event rehearsal at the beginning of your planning journey and structure the rest of your schedule around it. This ensures you won’t have to make unwanted sacrifices or rush. 

Even if nothing goes wrong, your team, clients, suppliers and vendors will see you as a professional, detail-oriented planner who puts their whole heart into every event. If nothing else, an event run-through will boost your planner cred! 

Once all is said and done, take a bow. You’ve earned it!

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