Event Planning: Keeping it SAFE in 4 Easy Steps

The Diva & Jennifer O’Neill

Your Business Blogger recently attended the annual fund raiser for a Baltimore non-profit. The event was flawless (or made to appear so, which is even more impressive).

When planning your next event or evaluating a get-together, consider this four part test which every good, SAFE party has: Speaker, Audience, Food, Entertainment.

1. Speaker. The keynoter is key to success and the bottomline. In today’s case study Jennifer O’Neill was on target and on fire. Summer of ’42, Rio Lobo with John Wayne, Cover Girl. Standing O at the end.

Our favorite family motto is delectare et docere, to please and to instruct. A great keynote does both. Jennifer O’Neill delivered. My 8 year-old Diva on left; O’Neill on right.

Remember speaker honorariums and speaking personalities are part of the event experience. I served on two boards where we hosted two contrasting events: one where Steve Forbes, who donated his fee and Bill Bennett, who didn’t. Dr. Bennett’s $40,000 speaking charge generated marginal returns on our investment. His subsequent gambling away (of my money!) was not helpful.

Ancient Jewish tradition says that a workman is worthy of his wages — honorariums should always be offered.

2. Audience. The people attending usually will be familiar with each other. If not, provide some mixer or movement to trigger circulation. This Baltimore event used a silent auction where lines formed — a queue for conversation. Assertive staff made introductions — good glad-handers working the crowd are micro warm-up acts.

Use a professional photographer who will create forced group shots. I find a snarky photographer bully the best. Everyone smiles; no one refuses.

(And when being photographed: three hints: 1. Show the left side of your face, 2. Put down or lower your drink, 3. Take off your name tag.)

The audience was also packed in. Adjust room size to have every table filled. Rub elbows, knocking about. This is most important and difficult for outdoor events. If your small business is expecting 100,000 — a high quality problem, to be sure — local government bureaucracy will be the challenge.

Jennifer O’Neill

3. Food. Will your event be remembered as another rubber chicken dinner? This non-profit avoided this with an excellent roast beef entree and an outstanding wait staff/attendee ratio for the experience. Grand repas!

4. Entertainment. The non-profit fund raising event continued its perfection. We live in a sight and sound generation where people expect to see movement. The Maryland Boys Choir provided the music, the motion. God Fearing Gospel music struck a chord with this audience. [cliche and pun combo] The 90 young men brought the house down, pleasing the packed crowd.

‘Packed’ being key. This can be a challenge to manage in some venues where the sardine packing is not possible. For example, comedians will not perform at outdoor events because there may be gaps too large between the attendees.

Laughter and entertainment and germs spread best in tight groups.

At your next gathering look around and see if it passes the four part SAFE test:




Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

80 Reactions
  1. Great ideas on how to make the event successful. You are right a personable, agreesive photographer can get people together and provide memories of the event. Consider also having a couple of professional “network weavers” These individuals job would be to pull people together and introduce them. We are currently working on an event registration tool that will allow attendees to identify what kind of people they want to meet/network with when they arrive. The tool will enable them to click on their profile prior to arriving to learn more, or alternatively, they will receive an email listing attendees who match what they are looking for.

  2. Don, thank you for your insight — yes, “network weavers” is a better term for a “third party introducer” or “working the crowd with a back-slapper” or the catch-all: “connector.”

    “Network Weaver” or NW is also much better than the WM, the singles’ slimey “wing man.”

    Please keep in touch. I am sure to steal “network weavers” and I will need to credit you…see:

    Thanks again,

  3. I liked your tips on event planning.

  4. Michael, I am having the same challenge with one of my non-profits: the audience may be smaller than expected. So we are planning to have staff add chairs — in the rear — only as the front seats fill in.

    It will make the attendance appear as though it exceeded expectations. And make everyone then feel as though they were at a happenin’ event with a red carpet. See:

    Thanks for your comment,

  5. A career in financial planning is still lucrative despite the worldwide financial crunch. As long as money is used in our economy financial planners will be needed. You have to pay your dues to become a financial planner but once you pass the test and prove your mettle, you can expect a handsome return for your efforts.

  6. I had never heard that acronym before. I with more events would be kept SAFE. I believe that each of the four areas represented are the most important to creating a quality event. Thanks for the post, easy to remember and will be used again…

  7. In order to have a successful event, it is necessary for people to plan things accordingly. People should have an objective and know specifically how they are going to go about achieving those objectives. Some ways in which people can assure that they plan their event well is to carefully consider the speaker, audience, food, and entertainment. The speaker of the event helps to captivate people and make them feel like they are not wasting their time by being at the event. The audience should be able to interact well with one another. It is good if most people already know each other, but if they do not, then there should be some type of activity to get people to converse. Additionally, food leaves a lasting impression among people, so it is important to make sure that it is of high quality because people are likely to remember such. Lastly, entertainment is something everyone should consider because the people who attend the event should always be interested. There should not be a moment in which someone feels bored or that the event is boring. Therefore, carefully considering the entertainment can help enhance the success of an event. If one carefully plans and considers these things, then he or she will better ensure that his or her event is successful.

  8. MacKenzie Gardner

    I think these tips are extremely helpful in having a successful event. I believe the tips about food and entertainment are the most important because those tend to be what people remember most. People remember when they had awful food or the entertainment at a party was down right boring. I will definitely be sharing this article with the company I am interning with for their next event!

  9. If you are going to plan an event, you should do it in a way that the audience will have a positive experience. One way of planning an event in a successful way is by knowing what your objective is so that you can make this clear to the audience. Having a good speaker can help to provide a great event. Knowing the people in the audience would also help to make a good event. Food and entertainment can also help to elevate an event.

  10. I like the tips on event planning. Those are the four main points but each point seems to go deeper. I think that getting the speaker is most important because that is what draws the audience. Then having an audience that is interested in the speaker is important. So the audience is based on the speakers and then you can make the event more attractive having good food which is always a plus because american’s love food! Entertainment is important and also adds to the audience and who will want to come to your event. Overall, I think this article is interesting and I agree with the steps but the connection between the steps is key to successful event planning.

  11. The word “safe” does this content justice. I think these four categories in event planning (Speaker, Audience, Food, Entertainment) are necessary at every event. However, in order for the event to be successful, these four steps must be optimized. It is not enough to simply have these four components at an event since the event can still easily fail. For example, the type of food matters. Like the article stated, the food served should be memorable in a positive respect (not tasting like rubbery chicken). Although the quality of the food depends heavily on the company, budget, and audience, it should always be complimentary to the event. The Speaker of the event is the center of the overall event because the keynoter is the also “the main act.” It’s important to always offer compensation for the speaker’s time. However, during the planning process, one should realize his constraints on budgets when choosing the right speaker. In addition, I believe many people overlook entertainment at business events. Sometimes, event planners prioritize heavily on getting the perfect speaker or targeted audience, that they ignore the entertaining aspect of the event. Entertainment is necessary because it captures attention and keeps the audience engaged and excited.

  12. The four SAFE steps to good event planning is the speaker, audience, food, and entertainment. First, the speaker must be prepared for their presentation and have good personality for the audience. It is important that you plan the right speaker for the right audience. The speaker can force rotation among the audience to introduce one another. Also, the article mentioned having a pushy photographer forces the crowd to get close to one another. Make sure to have a space for the event so the people are close together with little spaces because “laughter and entertainment and germs spread in tight groups.” This relates to the entertainment part of a good event because the crowd wants and expects movement. Therefore, plan entertainment that will attract the audience to get close to each other and enjoy. Lastly, make sure to have a good catering business for your event. No one will remember the bland chicken and store-bought cake at your event.

  13. I believe that the four steps of SAFE are very important when it comes to event planning. Over the past few summers one of my jobs has been working and setting up indoor and outdoor events. The events that I would set up for and work were more company based and often didnt have a main speaker planned to be in attendance. That it not to say the speaker is not important; I believe that having the right speaker could have an impact on two things: the amount of people you can draw to be in attendance and the engagement of the audience. On top of the right speaker and the audience; food and entertainment are essential to a properly run event. All of the events that I worked had an incredible spread of food with either a DJ or a band that was performing. Overall I believe that the steps of SAFE are absolutely key to the planning and execution of an enjoyable event.

  14. I have never heard anyone use the acronym SAFE before. After reading through this article, I think it would be in everyone’s best interest to learn of SAFE before planning an event. The simple acronym really dives deep into detail. I believe if event planners nail each step, they would be sure to have a successful event. I think the most important step is audience. Making sure the room isn’t too big for the guests is key. At events you don’t want your guests feeling isolated in a big room, everyone would just feel awkward. If the guests are packed in, they are almost forced to converse with one another. I think the point made about hiring a photographer is also a great point that I would have never thought of. It really does force people to interact and get to know each other.

  15. Christine Loughery

     When organizing an event, often the primary goal is to create a positive experience for the attendees. In order to be successful in accomplishing this goal the speaker, audience, food, and entertainment are all crucial aspects. The keynote speaker at the event often sets the tone of the night. Is this speaker someone who grabs the attention of the event attendees? Or is it someone who is less than enthused to be at the event? Next, the audience plays a key role in the outcome of the event. Although it is not easy to control the audience, having an activity for the audience to do that triggers conversation can aide in this aspect. The article mentions a silent auction in order to get the audience on their feet and mingling with one another. Food is the following important element in planning a enjoyable event. Serving delicious and quality food is a way to ‘wow’ your attendees. Finally, the entertainment at the event is icing on the cake! It is specifically there to ensure that the attendees are having a good time. All in all, SAFE is something to keep in mind when planning to execute a successful event.

  16. Brendan McCarthy

    These 4 steps I think are very important to making an event one to remember. I think that in order to execute a a good event you need thee four basic ideas to be high quality because you want your guests to feel welcomed and entertained, or they will loose interest and question why they are at the event. That being said, I think that the most important step is entertainment because at any event its about the audience and attendees, so you want them to be welcomed and at least somewhat enjoy themselves.

  17. The four key steps to having a successful event discussed in this article show how important it is to take the time to consider the speaker, audience, the food, and the entertainment at an event. I agree that all four of these steps are crucial in order to leave a good impression on the attendees and also to shed a good light on the company. One of the things that I really agree with is that it is crucial to have a good keynote speaker. I have been to events where the keynote speaker does not capture or captivate their audience, missing the perfect opportunity to leave an indelible impression on them.

  18. I believe that these four categories, speaker, audience, food and entertainment are very important to remember when event planning. I think that it is important to remember that even though you have these things in mind, it’s very important to really put them into action. The speaker is important because although they may have a great history in the category of event you are planning, they may not be the best public speaker. The audience is important because you do not want to invite people who are very uninterested. The food is important because if you promise food at an event, it cannot be inedible. And finally the entertainment is especially important because you want people to want to be there. If they lost interest, your party loses interest.

  19. I think that these four SAFE steps are crucial when planning a successful event. However, in order to execute SAFE each step needs great planning and organization. Beginning with the speaker, in order to have a great event the speaker has to be someone with a great captivating topic and with the ability to captivate the audience. Which leads to the next part which is the audience, the people invited to this event have to be guests who will most likely have an interest in the topic so that the event will be beneficial to them in one way or another. As the article states, the food has to be memorable, if the food is something memorable then the event will also be memorable. The same goes for the entertainment, the entertainment must be chosen and organized in a way that will be a memorable experience to the guests. Overall, I think this article does a great job in giving the basics in creating a successful event.

  20. Mahmoud Al-Attas

    To have a successful event it is essential to plan ahead of time. Individuals must have a goal and know particularly how they are going to achieve those targets. To guarantee that the event will work as planned is to consider Speaker , Audience , Food and entertainment. The gathering of people ought to have the capacity to connect well with each other. It is great if the vast majority definitely know each other. There must not be a minute in which somebody feels exhausted. Considering these things will guarantee a successful event.

  21. Mary Therese Daly

    I recently attended a Cocktail Party Networking Event with one of my friends. We both knew a lot of the people there, but there were some people that I knew that she did not and vice versa. I found this very beneficial when trying to network. If I did not know someone, she would introduce me and if she did not know someone, I would introduce her. I found it a lot easier to approach someone I did not know when I was with her, as she was able to introduce me. It can sometimes be awkward approaching someone without any prior knowledge of who they are or what they do, and this eliminated that awkward aspect. I think this aspect of planning is prevalent to individuals when preparing for an event, so it can allow them to benefit from the event.

  22. These are very important points to keep in mind when designing an event. Perhaps, these are so important because they are connected to each other. For example, if the audience in unfamiliar with each other, which is in fact common, they will try to prevent their encounters from being awkward. One way they will do this is by using the food as a way to divert from, or initiate conversation. The speaker and entertainment also have a similar function as each aspect of SAFE is related to the other. Additionally, if the audience is unacquainted, and the food that they inevitable consume is bad, then the event has already failed 50% of the SAFE evaluation.

  23. This article shows that in order to have a successful event you must plan ahead giving yourself enough time to get everything right. The speaker of the event must be able to bring the audience together. The entertainment also must be able to bring the audience together and mainly please them. And the way I view food out of the four key steps is as a bonus. If the event has good food that will be what completes the event. These reasons are why these four key steps are crucial in having a successful event.

  24. Anthony Spadaccini

    Gala, fundraisers, non profit, award dinners all showed follow this model. I have attended some of these events, some really great, others the longest event possible, where it feels time goes backwards. All of these worries are alleviated when you have a great thought process for running the event. Having a speaker who is there for the right reason to drive home the reason for the event is the most important. It keeps everyone attentive, and engaged in the event. The audience needs to be relatable for the speaker, the event managers need to give the speaker with the proper audience so everyone can benefit. F and E run hand and hand in events, entertainment happens after the food, and the food brings everyone together. SAFE a great way to run a great event

  25. As clearly stated in this article, the key to a successful venue is having a good speaker, audience, food and entertainment. Let’s take for example going to a business conference. The first thing that you do is booking a good and interesting speaker or speakers. This is the first thing that is going to attract your audience because it gives them something to look forward to. The second step is making an invitation list, one that you know that the people are going to be interested in going, this way you assure that most of them will go. Then, it is important that at the event you have good food and entertainment because this is how people are going to socialize with each other and do one of the most important things one usually does at this type of events, network. In the end if you can master all of these you will have a successfully safe party.

  26. Although keynote speaker events may not be on the same level as a wedding, the both are very similar in terms of how to best prepare to ensure everyone has the best experience possible. After attending a wedding, one is almost asked “How was the food?” I have been to a number of speakers and panel discussions where the food is good for someone like me, who is picky and likes it plain, but doesn’t meet the expectations of the majority. I think food is often something that is overlooked, because after all, everyone is there for the speakers. But in order for an event to bring about the best possible results, every aspect of the event has to be considered. When asked how the event was, maybe the attendees will focus on the negatives of the food and the people, and not touch upon how great the speaker was. Out of the SAFE requirements, you cannot put all of your focus into one particular aspect. This could result in a great speaker and a group of attendees who knew nothing about each other and were very different individuals. Or on the other hand, perhaps there was great food, but poor entertainment. In order to have the most success, we must give each and every aspect of the event careful and attentive consideration and do the best with the resources we have.

  27. Whatever the goal of the event be, it is important that the audience is always intrigued. I believe that the idea of a “SAFE” event captures everything necessary to keep the attention of the audience which is, after all, the most important aspect of every event. No matter how well organized an event may be, if the audience is disinterested then the entire event goes to waste. While lectures and keynotes can be interesting and informative, it is important to remember that they can also be long and tiresome. The moment that the spectator’s mind wanders somewhere else, whatever the intended effect of the event may have been has been lost.

  28. SAFE is a new acronym I will note both when planning an event or evaluating one. From my understanding, the audience seems to be the focus of event planning. The speaker is to draw an audience, the food is to keep the audience, and the entertainment is to treat the audience for attending the event. Customers are not always right but they certainly do hold the power to make or break a business. On the other hand, the SAFE acronym can be a way to make sure all points of your event are included. It is an effective tool I will keep in mind when planning to impress at any event.

  29. Nicolette Crisalli

    These tips are helpful in preparing a successful event. When reading this article I definitely looked back to past events I have attended and looked to see if the people preparing the event successfully reached each part of SAFE. Specifically looking at audience and room size I thought back to *a non business experience.* That being a lacrosse game against SUNY Cortland, Cortland has a ginormous stadium but the school being so far away we did not have nearly enough fans to fill the stadium. I definitely felt a weaker sense of excitement. I compared this to events I have been to that are in huge rooms and people are spread out and there is just not that tight, squished together sense of excitement that I believe needs to be there to have a successful energetic event.

  30. Planning events can be complicated, having a checklist to work with can make planning much easier. Sometimes the simplest ideas work the best. I believe the steps given in this article are great for creating an event that people enjoy being at, and one that they will remember for the foreseeable future. I would not have thought that having a smaller event space would have been better than having a space that was too large, but it does encourage people to interact with each other in a way having too much extra space would not. Though the food and entertainment may not be what you want the focus of your event to be, it is important they add to the ambiance of the event. A terrible meal and terrible entertainment could completely ruin an event.

  31. I love event planning and will definitely take into account SAFE from now on when I plan for future events. Each element plays an important role in ensuring that the event will be a success. For many events, a speaker of some sort is key to drawing in the audience and gathering thoughts and topics. It is important to have an audience that feels engaged and interested in the certain event. Like in the article, if the audience is unfamiliar with one another, it’s a good idea to engage them in some sort of mixer or activities so that they can become more comfortable. Food is a must in any successful event because who doesn’t love food! Depending on the event, whether formal or casual, it’s important to choose appropriate dishes to accommodate the atmosphere. Last but not least, entertainment. An event needs some sort of entertainment in order to capture the audience and keep them interested and entertained. Entertainment adds a fun element to any event and can connect people together. I am glad I learned about SAFE because it’s a great way to make sure any event is successful so long as it meets each point.

  32. After reading this post and looking back at events that I have been to, I certainly agree with these 4 elements of a successfully planned event. I think the most important aspect of the 4 steps is the speaker. The speaker makes or breaks the whole presentation. If you have a boring speaker who loses the attention of the audience, then the audience will want to leave and become uninterested in what’s going on. A good speaker that captures the attention and positive attitude of the audience makes the presentation more enjoyable as well as connects the people in the audience together. If the speaker unifies the audience with a great speech, then the audience will be able to enjoy the food and entertainment more because they are in good company and happy to be there.

  33. Elizabeth Gittings

    SAFE is something that I have not hear of yet, but find interesting due to the face that each letter represents a critical component of making an event successful. Without these four things, an event wouldn’t have the effect or attraction the person in charge desires. I find the utilizing of environment compelling to push people towards one another and to mingle during an event. It is a smart tactic because it doesn’t give the attendee an opportunity to shy away and I believe that is the first issue an event needs to combat to be successful. If no one is going to mingle then it defeats the purpose of an event.

  34. Everyone has been to an event with a terrible speaker.  After the event, most people are interested in how quickly they can get to the door to leave.  This is why it is critical to have a good speaker, but also important to have things such as food and entertainment to keep people interested.  If the speaker is engaging, the audience will be focused and interested,  and want to stay for the entirety of the event.  Providing refreshments and other entertainment will add to the experience, which will add value to the event, and encourage networking.  In the future, if you host another event, people will remember how well they liked the last one, and you will be more likely to host more people.

  35. Things must be planned accordingly in order to have a successful event. It is true that SAFE is an important aspect and could be achieved through four different points: speaker, audience, food, and entertainment. The speaker is there to captivate the audience while the audience interacts and listens to one another. Getting the right group together is very important as it makes it easier for individuals to interact. If not it is up to the event to get everyone comfortable. Furthermore, food is an important aspect because it could leave a lasting impression among people. However, by saying this it could have its downsides if the food is not superb. Lastly, there should be some sort of entertainment to enhance the atmosphere.

  36. The great thing about this article is that it is direct in showing four steps that can make or break an event. Succeeding in having a great speaker, comfortable audience, good food, and entertainment are ways to make your event a memorable one. I really like that the speaker is the first thing mentioned in the article because I believe that this is most important when planning an event. The speaker is going to be the focus of the event and if it can’t grab the audience’s attention to communicate a message, the event will be a failure. When I look back, I can remember events that I have attended where the speaker was engaging and interactive and these were the events that I remember talking about how great they were. In all, these are an easy four ways to ensure that you are hosting the perfect event.

  37. The key to having a successful event is SAFE. The speaker must be able to please the audience and have good personality that the audience enjoys. The audience should know each other or get to know each other through mixers so they can bond. There should be good food at the event too. Good food means happy people. With bad food, means that people won’t eat and then people get hungry. Hungry people are not happy people. The entertainment should bring movement. People don’t like to stay in one spot for too long. Having good entertainment that allows the audience to move is always good.

  38. In order for an event to be successful, the attendees need to be informed as well as entertained. This is why it is crucial for a speaker to be present in order for those attending to understand the overall purpose of the event in general. Secondly, if those in the audience are not familiar with each other, the event coordinator should consider including an activity that creates conversations. Food is a major aspect of an event, because the attendees are expecting a good meal, especially if the event they are attending is hoping for donations at the end. Finally, entertainment is key because it brings the audience together in a fun atmosphere. When the audience is enjoying themselves at the event, they are more likely to contribute to the cause.

  39. I never realized how much thought went into planning business events. It surprises me that companies are so meticulous about how the events are arranged. Your insight about having a photographer who is very outgoing makes a lot of sense, but it is something I would have never really thought about had you not mentioned it. The SAFE guidlines sound like a solid premise for which all social events should be established upon. If I ever get the opportunity to plan an event like the one you described, I would hope that I remember the SAFE guidelines to ensure that everyone has good things to say about the event afterwards.

  40. I’ve never heard this acronym before but I do agree with each of the four parts of it. I think that having an intelligent speaker is very important because they are the ones who likely grab the attention of the audience with their first impression. As the article says, the speaker who did not donate his money and then proceeded to gamble with it, likely did not sit well with the audience. With that, the audience is based on the speaker and how they control the environment. The entertainment and food are also both very important because these are the elements that the people attending will likely remember the most and adds to the attractiveness of the event. I enjoyed this article and will be paying attention to these aspects next time I attend an event.

  41. I think these tips are very helpful for event planning. Event planning takes a lot of time and you need to make sure that you plan everything a head of time. The food and the entertainment part was the part I liked the most, because everyone remembers if the food id bad or good and the entertainment part of an event is what keeps people there and happy. If you have bad food and bad entertainment people might start to leave and be unhappy and they may not come to the next event that you have set up.

  42. Event planning is a key aspect of business interaction and operation. Creating the perfect ambiance can make all the difference when trying to bring people together for collaboration, networking, and socializing. Those who are speaking at business events must be engaging, so that everyone in attendance can absorb the message and have it be effective. Food and entertainment are big factors in keeping crowds at events going, meaning wanting them to stay and potentially engage more than they thought they would. Yes, factors as simple as food and entertainment can make big differences at business events as I have experienced in recent years. Sometimes I catch myself in more joyful and productive moods at business networking events when I am listening to great live music while eating great assortments of meats and cheeses. While feeling this way, I have had many great conversations and networking experiences at the food table. As I said before, business events that are appropriately planned to tend to the amount of people intended to come can make all the difference in the world for those hosting and participating.

  43. This article made some very impressive points on event planning. To start it is crucial to have a speaker that is also part of the entertainment for the night and one that will wow a crowd of people. I found that as far as audience goes circulation is huge, no one wants a room in a stand still feeling bound to the place they are standing. It is important to have people feel as if they can move about and around as they please to meet others and socialize. Food was another great point because who doesn’t love good food? It may not always have to be a great big meal but small apps and beverages are always appealing. And lastly, entertainment is key to keep an audience engaged and making the environment light and fun.

  44. SAFE is a very clever way to remind yourself of how a successful event should go and also, how to act at networking events. First, the speaker of the event needs to be remembered by their personality and the speech they provide. Speakers usually set the tone of the night, so whoever is in charge of event planning needs to be willing to pay for a worthwhile speaker. Second, the audience of the event is very important. The event planner needs to make sure the audience gets along and there are mutual groups so there is a lot conversation and mingling. Third, food is crucial for a successful event because food makes everyone happy and people are usually looking forward to the whole night. The wait staff needs to be efficient in order to please the guests. Food and drinks can also be a conversation starter for the guests if they are waiting in line. Lastly, the entertainment brings the crowd together and everyone feels connected. SAFE is great advice and I will definitely take this advice into account if I am ever planning an event or even attending one.

  45. The acronym SAFE is an ideal word to remember what a good event should b filled with. The speaker is key, as they will direct and instruct everyone gathered at the event throughout the evening. On top of that, charm and allure should both be important for a speaker, if you can;t find yourself drawn into what he or she is saying then what good is it to have the speaker, speaking? Secondly, I feel food and entertainment are imperative in order to set a respectable and attractive ambiance. All in all, I feel the food, speaker and entertainment are all intertwined and designed to please the audience.

  46. When planning an event one can get lost in the amount of work it details. Giving someone a simple acronym like SAFE, will make it much easier for them to organize what they have to do in order for the event to be successful. Having a speaker is important to an event because it provides purpose and entertainment to the event. The audience should be groups who would enjoy hearing from the speaker, this ensures that they will enjoy who is speaking and talk to others in the audience. Food is important to an event because no one wants to go to an event for a few hours and not have a chance to eat something. And finally entertainment is crucial because it brings everyone together and ensures that they have a good time.

  47. SAFE perfectly explains how any event must prepare in order to be successful and leave a lasting impression. Speakers need to be able to captivate their audiences and not bore them. It is important that speakers get their audience interested so they aren’t simply looking at their phones and waiting for the event to be over. The audience must be made up of people who are interested in the topic that the speaker is talking about as well. Food and entertainment serve as motivation and incentive for people to attend these events and allow them to take their mind of the speaker so they can enjoy other aspects of the event.

  48. I love the S.A.F.E. steps of event planning. Break down the event to the Big 4 and simplify it even further. Event planners need to make sure to organize and test out all of the Big 4. If you are having a speaker, it is crucial you are having a speaker who is appropriate for the event and audience and is also going to lead the event to success. Audience is a tricky one, but I firmly believe that the event needs to support the audience in having a good experience. Food is crucial. Don’t be too out there with the food, but be different. This is where it is important to know your audience. Have good food in good numbers. Finally, Entertainment is what can make or break an event. Be a little different than having a DJ. Have a band or barber quartet. Change it up a little and be fun. I will definitely be implementing SAFE into my next event.

  49. Successfully pulling off events can be a difficult thing to do. However, by following the outline of SAFE (speaker, audience, food, entertainment) you can formulate a great event. Having a good speaker is important, because this will get your audience engaged. The audience need to be engaged or the event will fail. Food is always a nice thing to have at events. It allows attendees to mingle and get more comfortable at the event. Entertainment is also very important, because people do not go to events to be bored. They go to learn and to be entertained.

  50. When I began reading this article, I immediately thought back to my summer internship which involved a lot of event planning. I would have to agree with the S.A.F.E. idea and stay that each of those aspects of an event truly do contribute in large ways. Speakers who are engaging, interesting and knowledge always attract more listeners. Audience, it is completely accurate that the organization should provide an ice breaker if people don’t know each other, coming from experience, it can be completely awkward. Food, food is always an important part of the event, don’t let this go because people usually are expecting something to naw on. Finally, entertainment is key to keep your people engaged both before and after a speaker.

  51. I think it’s important to “go all out”, so to speak, when it comes to event planning. The costlier an event, the more it will grab an audience’s attention and leave a long-lasting impression on future business partners. I think it’s also important to hire a charismatic speaker for an event. Someone who keeps things short, sweet, and to the point, all while keeping the audience reeled in. The speaker should keep his spiel short to ensure there is enough time for the event’s attendees to mingle and develop deeper business relationships. Dinner should be long enough to make time for conversation, but the food should be light so people have the energy to keep on talking. The entertainment should excite the audience enough to keep them awake, but not so much that it prevents the audience from getting down to business. Reserving money for business events seem unnecessarily costly, but spending money on events is a smart long-term investment in that it provides a business with plenty of new relationships to follow-up on.

  52. When I worked in Development this summer, I was tasked with planning events such as this one. One of the most important things that I think you mentioned is the Venue!! The Venue can do a great job of exciting people into attending when a Speaker is not very exciting. The speaker situation is true as well, I had the chance to meet Steve Forbes and he typically does not accept speaker’s fees. That is another benefit of getting a high-profile speaker to come, often they are coming because of their attention to the message of the organization.

  53. This article provides many good points on event planning and how to go about being successful. The four steps SAFE are key components in creating a great atmosphere for a specific event. I think all four points are extremely important in order to create a success. The speaker is a very important part of an event, they are able to engage the audience and create a connection between the attendants. The audience allows the speaker to connect to certain people and creates a sense of welcoming. Without the audience, nothing could be delivered. The food allows for a fun, welcoming atmosphere and keeps the audiences happy and engaged. Who wouldn’t want food! Lastly, entertainment is key to any successful event. If one is bored or not engaged that causes a bad name for the event. With entertainment the audience will be happy and more interested.

  54. These tips are helpful in hosting a very successful event. The tips about food and entertainment are the most important, in my opinion. This is due to the tendency to be that people have to be memorable. People have a tendency to remember when they had a bad time or the food. They will remember the entertainment at a party if it was very boring.

  55. Hosting events is vital in today’s business world. Whether it is a small meeting at one of the office’s conference room or a massive gathering at a convention hall somewhere, making sure everything runs smoothly is important to ensure that the event is successful. Every networking event or meeting I have been to for work has had these four steps present in some way, shape, or form. In some situations having entertainment may not be appropriate, but the hosts still find a way to keep everyone interested through other means. It all comes down to hosts that can understand how to work these steps well to keep their events functioning properly.

  56. These are very helpful tips for planning any sort of event. Event planning is very important in the business world if you are tasked with planning an event you definitely want it to be very professional and to give the right impressions to all the attendees. Food and entertainment are definitely in my opinion the two most important factors when planning an event. These are the two things that people are going to remember the next day when reminiscing about the great event they went too. Food and entertainment can make or break the event.

  57. I did not realize how much work truly went into planning business events. A lot of pieces have to be set in place in order to make a successful event. You have to have the venue, entertainment, food, and speakers all lined up and make sure that they are the right fit for the event.

  58. As an event planner and a constant event goer, SAFE is an excellent acronym to follow when planning an event. One thing I have learned time and time again is, there is never a bad event when the food is good. An engaging speaker is always great to have. While planning an event can be very stressful at times, enjoying your event is also very important, so having fun at your own event and enjoying all the pieces that have come together is all ways a treat when following SAFE.

  59. Although I don’t remember having been to a large event where they have had a keynote speaker, I have been to plenty of weddings where all of the of 3 aspects of SAFE are employed. At a wedding, most audiences are the same, they are there to have a good time, celebrate and hang out with friends or family. As for food and entertainment, the things that makes or breaks a wedding for the guests are the food and the DJ or Band. I know after all the weddings that I’ve been to, one of the first things that people ask me about it is “how was the food?” I also strongly agree that the venue of an event is one of the most important things to consider. Last year, my cousins wedding reception was held at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the entire city of Pittsburgh, but the room that the reception was held in was too small for my very large family, and half of the family ended up having to stand outside of the room at the bar, which detracted from the entire night because those who were outside were unable to hear the music or be able to participate in the rest of the festivities.

  60. Marisa Martinelli

    This was a great article to read giving a lot of important information when it comes to event planning. The acronym they gave perfectly fits each important need when it comes to planning an event. I think this acronym can be used both in the business world and your personal life to be sure you put on a charming event for everyone to enjoy. When it comes to speakers, it is important to choose someone who will relate to the entire audience. The point that I found most interesting when it comes to audience is the photographer. A good photographer can allow new people to meet by first taking their picture which they can start a conversation from. Food is always a must at an event especially depending on the time of the event. Entertainment can top the night and really make it memorable for your audience.

  61. Event planning can be fun, but often it is stressful and difficult. Trying to make sure everyone will have a good time can cause a lot of stress especially is only a few people are planning the event. The article hits the nail on the head with its first two points. Food and additional entertainment are all well and good, but people come to see headliners and keynote speakers. Making sure that you have a strong main speaker is a great way to generate excitement over an event. Additionally, making sure that the audience is able to interact with each other is a great way for people to have a good time and for valuable networking to take place. Food and entertainment can make a good event great, but it can be hard to find real value at an event with good food and entertainment, but horrible keynote speakers and audience members. Facilitating an environment of curiosity and community is a surefire way to make sure everyone has a good time.

  62. Matthew Christensen

    This article is interesting, because it delivers such a simple message that event planners often overlook. However, at every event I have been at, these 4 points make or break it. The speaker is crucial, because the audience will talk about the speaker all night, especially if the speaker gives a moving or intuitive speech. Similar to the last article, this speaker is basically giving a sales pitch, and if this speaker has the audience engaged, the night is off to a terrific start. Second, the audience should feel appreciated by the event, and wanted by the company hosting. For example, every one gets a complimentary gift bag, and a photographer is taking pictures that the audience can have at the end of the night for memories. I think it is very nice to feel wanted at a event. The food is easy, keep it simple to ensure the audience will enjoy it. There is nothing worse than bad food at a high end event. Entertainment is key for keeping people engaged. It is similar to a sporting event, when a game is tight and back and forth, the crowd is twice as engaged as they would be if it were a blowout.

  63. In my opinion, it is very rare to find the “SAFE” principal at most events. A lot of the times, the speaker may not be the best and ramble on, there might not not be enough attendees, the food may not be warm enough, or the music could be playing too loud for people to converse. However, the SAFE principal can be applied if planned well for really any event. The most recent presidential election with Donald Trump was a great example of a good use of the SAFE principal because the audience was primarily republican and from all corners of America and was solely there to hear Trump speak. The food all over D.C. is great, including the restaurants and food trucks so it was nice for all the tourists to have something good to eat. And lastly, the entertainment the day before (and after with the women’s march) the inauguration was pretty eventful.

  64. Christina Castaldo

    The acronym SAFE, which stands for Speaker, Audience, Food, and Entertainment is helpful to remember when trying to plan a successful event. First, the speaker of the event needs to be engaging and provide a good performance for the audience. Speakers generally set the tone of the event, making their role very important. Second, the audience of the event is critical. The event planner needs to make sure the audience is enjoying the event, in order for it to be a success. Third, food is important because food makes people happy and it can also make people truly remember their experience at the event. Food and drinks is often a major conversation starter at mostly all events. Lastly, the entertainment is what brings the crowd together and makes people feel connected. SAFE is great advice that I will definitely take into account if I ever were to plan an event.

  65. Hosting events play a large roll in marketing, which is why SAFE is a great acronym to use. It is important that the speaker of the event has relevance for the goal of your event. For example, the Washington Humane Society will hire speakers that have supported the organization for years and know all about the work the society does. Knowing your audience is also very important at an event. I thought it was a great idea to add mixers into your event to allow those who don’t know each other to mingle. Food is just as important to every event because it is usually a conversation starter. You don’t want people to be talking about how terrible the food is at your event. Entertainment is what tends to sell someone to attend your event in the first place, which is why it needs to go flawlessly. If you’re hosting an event you need to make sure the entertainment lives up to expectations.

  66. SAFE is a simplistic way to break down a complicated event. Big events, such as conferences, when thought of broadly have several moving parts that must work together in order for the event to be a success. If the planner were to try to take on planning the event without first breaking it down into parts, like SAFE, then they would have a very rough time trying to manage everything. SAFE takes care of the big picture items, which are the most important. Once the SAFE criteria has been taken care of the planner can move on to focusing on the details that make the event go from good to great.

  67. SAFE (Speaker, Audience, Food, and Entertainment) is a great acronym to remembering the key aspects for planning an event. I think people tend to forget how important food and entertainment are to an event. With food and entertainment you can create a great learning environment for the audience. “Laughter and entertainment and germs spread best in tight groups.” The audience will come away happy they attended the event rather than regretful.
    Also, I had no idea a speaker could be worth $40,000. That doesn’t even include the other 3 points to an successful event.

  68. Planning events can be exceptionally difficult because if one thing goes wrong, your event might only be remembered for the error. This article was really helpful for a marketing student because event planning can be apart of the job. We can have the best vision or an unlimited budget but if we cannot pull off these SAFE tips we are toast! I am not sure why but the food aspect really stood out to me. There have been plenty of events that I have attended and they had some good qualities but all I remember is how bad the food was and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It ruins how I envision the whole event and all the positive aspects go out the window. I think that to pull off your flawless event you need to make sure all your bases are being covered. You need to triple check what you already double checked and make sure things go off without any issues.

  69. When large groups gather, it’s nearly impossible to please everyone, however, when planning an event, using the SAFE test is a great way to ensure that your event will have something everyone will enjoy – after all, who doesn’t like food and entertainment? Success of an event isn’t only gaged by the quality of the time that attendees have that night, but also by the way they recall the event later on. For example, when their friends ask how it went, what will they say? If its an annual event, will they be back next year? Negative word of mouth after an event can be detrimental to an organization’s cause, but hosting a good speaker, knowing your audience, and providing enjoyable food and entertainment can guarantee a successful event.

  70. Step number 3, food, is so important. Although it should not be, the food is what gets talked about the most when it comes to an event. I remember at prom, the chicken was not that good, and even the the whole night was supposed to be about fun, dancing and many other things over food, for weeks that is what people continued to talk about. It does not have to be fancy, but many times if it is good that makes people much more positive about the event, and even more likely to spend more money, (say the event is a silent auction) a good meal might make someone feel a lot more positive when spending their money.

  71. Andrea Perez-Hickman

    I work as an events intern for the business school and this article was particularly interesting since we do use “the four part SAFE test” even if we did not realize we were using it. In events like the ICIC event we had last month we tried to avoid being the event that would be remembered as “the rubber chicken” so instead of getting cardinal catering we ordered from an outside caterer and it was a hit with the audience. The speaker is also really important, we had a Cardinal come in and open the event, then the keynote speaker was great, she walked around asking questions and engaging the audience.

  72. It is interesting to read how an event can be successful by using only four steps. The step that grabbed my attention was in regards to the audience. I never noticed how little things like silent auctions and using a professional photographer create conversation. By the photographer forcing group pictures, people begin to communicate to avoid awkward silence. People have a positive experience of an event where they meet new people. As people talk and share stories, they begin to connect with each other and also feel more connected to the event. Feeling like you are a part of the event benefits both the guest and the host. The guest enjoys their time while the host receives positive feedback and monetary benefits.

  73. The SAFE acronym used in this article is a very helpful tool to keep in mind when planning an event. The acronym, — which stands for Speaker, Audience, Food, and Entertainment — is very simple and easy to remember but it could make or break and event. Failure to deliver on one of these components, and the event will only be remembered for the error. SAFE provides a straightforward and uncomplicated guide to exactly what the event planner must focus on when coordinating every single element of the event. This acronym is a helpful reminder for any type of event and can be applied to events of any size and scale, from a dinner party to a charity gala, and this is what makes the acronym so versatile and relatable.

  74. I liked how this article based the whole process of event planning into four easy steps. These steps which include the speaker, audience, food, and the entertainment are the four core assets to a successful event. Of the four tips, I believe that the food and entertainment will be the most remembered by the people whom attend. Often times people will remember if the food they had at an event was good or bad in their first review. Second, people will say oh that was a great time or that was extremely boring. The speaker and audience are still just as important but, I think that the food and entertainment will be on the top of peoples lists if they were asked to describe the event.

  75. What grabbed my attention in this article is professionalism. Professionalism is the key to attract people to your business. Compared to fund raising events that I have attended before, this one seems very organized at a very high level. It is very important to add professionalism into every aspect of the event; from the speaker to the food. People will value your business when you put a high value into it.

  76. When planning an event it is very good to use SAFE to make sure all the basics are covered. Food and Entertainment are the two that I believe that are most important. When you leave an event you are instantly thinking “am I fed?” and “did I have fun?”. If the food is less than favorable then that is all people will be talking about because people love to criticize and especially when food is involved. Entertainment is another big one because people just love to have a good time and if an event is a boring time then people will hardly remember what the event was even for. SAFE is something all coordinators should use as a reference.

  77. For an event to be successful and have its attendees leave with a positive reaction, STEM is the best checklist to use when needing ideas. A good speaker could close the whole deal if it reaches the listeners is a positive light, it has the ability to also generate conversations with people afterwards and create connections and relationships. Food may be the most important one, even though it does not have much tangible meaning to it concerning the event, people will remember it by the food whether it be good or bad and that will leave a lasting impact. Entertainment brings life to the event which lightens up the mood in any situation which also leaves a lasting impact. The goal of an event is to give people a memory that they will not forget, whether it be a wedding, a fundraiser, a ball, a fair. In any case people expect a lot from events and will want things to stand out

  78. I believe that even a sub-par theme, when hosted using S A F E, will never make for a dull event. Despite the theme or topic the event is pertaining to (it could be a real sleeper), but if you have a good host they will still be able to keep the audience on their feet (S). Likewise, a very enthusiastic audience will also always help keep the show more interesting. I believe the event planners can take precautions that will stimulate the crowd and make for the ideal audience–> this may include prepositioned seating based on a series of preferences, interests, origins, companies, etc (A). Theme, Speaker, Audience…all else fails you can still rely on those caterer’s. Who will ever forget a great meal? (F). And finally, an actual great performer or subbed out entertainment of some sort will always make for the perfect dressing to any event. Again, I think that it is helpful to take precautionary measures because you do not want your “addition” to bore, or divert away your audience’s attention from the main focus (E).

  79. Successfully pulling off events can be aachieved following the SAFE outline. Having a good speaker is important, because this will get your audience engaged. If event planners nail each step, they would be sure to have a successful event. Making sure the room isn’t too big for the guests will make for a good atmosphere because the room will not seem to big but not overwhelmingly packed. I think the point made about hiring a photographer is also a great point that I would have never thought of. It really does force people to interact and get to know each other.