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Google Docs (or Drive as it was lately renamed) is a great suite of software that’s completely free to use. At first glance it might seem to just be a cost free alternative to Microsoft Office. It is. But there’s a lot more to the suite of tools than just knocking up a few basic documents.
It’s become an integral part of how I plan events and has great potential to save you time and money when you’re planning events.
Collaborate on Event Plans
Have you ever worked on a document where you need a lot of people to contribute and share their opinions? Did you end up with three or four different versions. All with different information that you’ve had to merge back to one document.
This can be a right nightmare.
Much better if there’s just one definitive version that everyone's working from. That’s automatically stays updated when anyone makes a change. That’s how a text documents and spreadsheets work on google drive. It even keeps track of changes, and who made them. That way you can see who made what edits when.
This can work well for all kinds of documents associated with planning events. One area I’ve had particular success if when planning panel discussions.
I start of my posing a series of questions that might work well for the panel. I then prompt the participants to collectively edit and comment on this document. We have a living and breathing plan for the panel.
I’ve never done it yet but theoretically I could even include the audience in this. Allow them to edit the document and pose their question if they’re too shy to grab the microphone and ask a question.
Capture Speaker and Sponsor Information
This process has saved me hours and hours when planning events. I can genuinely say using this approach has revolutionised my event.
When planning a conference or exhibition you to want to capture information about speakers or sponsors.
Perhaps you ask a series of questions in an email that you cut and paste into a spreadsheet. If you set up a Google Form you can ask all the info you need. You direct people to the right web address, they fill the form in and it auto-populates a spreadsheet you can share with all your team.
All in the same format as all your other speakers or sponsors.
Completely flexible and powerful.
Share Presentations with Attendees
Google Drive is Google’s competitor to Dropbox. This can be a great way to distribute assets that come out of an event.
If you’re sharing PDFs you can upload them all up to a folder and share that with your attendees. You can even upload Powerpoint files. This allows people to navigate them online using Google’s presentation solution.
Share Diaries and Itineraries
If your planning events the chances are you have a hectic diary. Keeping details of your events synced can be tricky, which date did you have that venue on second option? What date is your competitor’s event?
Sharing calendars through Google Drive allows you all to work with the same version of your diaries. A version that automatically syncs across all users and devices! Magical stuff!
On one hand Google Drive is a great alternative to other Office suites but some of its cloud functionality is powerful. If you’ve got a complicated job like an event manager it can make your life a bunch easier.