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The Top 5 Event-Planning Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Badly planned events can struggle with sprawling costs, attendee dissatisfaction and missed opportunities to add value. Most problems with events can be traced back to event-planning mistakes around poor team management, a lack of strategic direction, or someone dropping the ball on the nuts-and-bolts.

Let’s take a look at the five most common event-planning mistakes, and how you can ensure smooth delivery for your event.

1. Not Defining Team & Objectives

Making sure you’ve got the right people on board – and making sure that those people know exactly what they’re doing and why – is absolutely key.

- Get your team together from the beginning. Work to people’s strengths, agree key decision-makers and establish communication methods and expectations

- What are the objectives of this event? Who is it for, and what is the desired outcome?

What are the key metrics and how will you measure success? Ensure your team is clear on this.

2. Underestimating Time

The ROI can be exceptional, but there’s no getting away from the fact that planning and delivering events is time intensive.

- Begin planning early and assume that everything will take longer than you think – especially where suppliers are involved

- Plan and delegate the project. Outsource tasks that aren’t in your skill set

- Add buffer time to your project plan, and always pad out time when asking for third party responses.

3. Forgetting Practical Details

It’s a lot of fun to visit venues, dress a space and audition entertainment – but the nuts and bolts of events are just as important.

- Cover legal/compliance/CSR issues early when vetting venues – Health & Safety, risk assessments, first aid facilities, green credentials etc.

- How are attendees accessing the venue? Look at travel times, the potential to provide transport and ensure that there’s access for any disabled attendees if needed

- Make a comprehensive list of every task you need to address. Tick tasks off as they’re completed.

4. Assuming Other People are as Organised as You

There’s nothing more frustrating than a supplier or attendee undoing all your hard work at the last minute. Expect the best but plan for the worst:

- Time a dry-run of your event if possible, tweak timings as necessary

- Don’t assume people will work how you work – clarify best practices beforehand, and use a shared drive to allow your project team to see live updates to attendee and supplier information etc.

- Have spare copies of any paperwork or attendee resources on the day

- Ensure attendee data capture ahead of the event is thorough (i.e. dietary requirements/ details of any extra guests etc. as necessary).

5. Lack of Communication

Clear communication delivers seamless events. Thanks to social media, smart phones and always-on comms channels, there are more ways of communicating with attendees, suppliers and your team than ever before.

- Think like an attendee – what would you need to know, how could the event be made easier or better for you?

- Think like a supplier – what would you need to know and when would you need to know it?

- Put everything in writing but don’t assume people read their emails. The phone and Zoom meetings are your secret weapons...

Events need to be strategically aligned with key business objectives, integrated with work flows, and delivered on time and on budget. They need to be memorable, but they also need to pay their way, deliver exceptional ROI and real value to attendees, organisers and stakeholders.

We’d love to work with you to plan and create events that deliver. Get in touch now.

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