Everybody makes mistakes, and while learning from errors of judgement is arguably more useful and important than avoiding them in the first place, it’s also more embarrassing. Being aware of some common mistakes that you might fall prey to while planning your events could help you steer clear of them, so we’ve put together a list of common ones that event organisers have made. We hope that someday, you’ll be able to look back with relief that they were someone else’s mistakes and not yours.
You may have researched your target market thoroughly and made sure that your event is just what they need and want, but if you don’t tell them about it, no one will show up. Getting the word out clearly across multiple mediums and consistently over a sustained period is essential to your success. It might seem obvious, but this one is at the top of the list because event planners so often end up disappointed because they didn’t effectively communicate how awesome their event would be. Make sure you’re not one of them!
There are many ways to turn a great event idea into a disaster by putting it on at the wrong time. Perhaps you’ve planned a kids’ party during school hours, an outdoor activity in the winter or a candlelight procession during the daytime – or maybe your event simply clashes with another big or competing one, or a time when your audience is busy doing something more important. Whatever it is, the timing of your event is crucial, and it needs to be given very careful consideration.
There are two factors to consider here – how far in advance you start preparing your event, and how many hours you dedicate to it during that time. Organising an event is often a full-time commitment, sometimes even more, so if you have other things on your plate or you think it’s enough to devote one day to the preparations every fortnight, you may well find yourself falling short. Things like assembling a team and promotion need to be started well in advance of the big day, and tasks often take longer than expected, so figure out exactly what you need to do and by when, then make sure to leave more than enough time for everything on your list.
Your vendors, speakers, caterers and other participants have a lot of other things going on, and believe it or not your event is not the first and last thing on their mind at any given moment. This means that they can easily forget about their commitments or find the event date creeping up on them too quickly. For this reason, it’s essential that you maintain a dialogue with them to ensure that they’re expecting your event and that they’re ready to do their part when the time comes. In particular, a reminder a few days (or however long they’ll need to make sure they can fulfil their promises) before showtime is a must – and keep trying if you don’t hear back from them!
There are so many things that can go wrong with an event. The weather can spoil your plans, traffic can cause delays and no-shows can let you down. Add in an almost infinite list of other unexpected issues, and it’s a minefield. The problems you may face will depend on the nature of your event, so it’s important that you have a thorough brainstorm and list everything that might go awry. Once you’ve done this, come up with solid backup plans that will allow you to overcome each of these difficulties individually while making your event still look like a success. Your attendees will understand that issues can arise, but they’ll be less forgiving if you didn’t seem to consider that possibility yourself.