Planning and executing an event can be an exciting, yet very busy time. Most require months of preparation and strong plans in place to achieve the best outcome. However, from time to time even the most seasoned of event planners can face challenges.
So, what are some common event planning mistakes and how can you avoid or overcome them?
As an event planner, a key responsibility is to know what is going on across your internal team and external parties like suppliers and event speakers and attendees. However, if you don’t communicate clearly to each relevant group what you are expecting from them, then it’s likely that mistakes will be made as each member of your event delivery team will be unsure of their responsibilities.
The best way to overcome this challenge is to make a runsheet – this is a clear breakdown of what should be happening throughout the event and who will be completing each task. It must include times to start and finish certain tasks and should have the contact details of key members of the event delivery team so that each member of the team knows who to speak to if they have questions.
Lack of clear signage
Don’t have your event attendees running late for their favourite speakers or preferred sessions because they can’t find where a certain presentation is being given. The best way to overcome this challenge is to make sure each room is clearly signposted and there are clear directions to other spaces. Digital signage can assist with this as you can use one screen to give multiple directions and even feature moving maps, directing event attendees to main events like keynote speaker sessions or lunch.
Leaving equipment rental to the last minute
So you’ve organised the big ticket items like screens, projectors, lights and staging, but what about handheld microphones, lapel microphones and laser pointers? These are often requested by speakers. It’s tempting to only put in an order once you know what you require to avoid excess spending, but your AV suppliers will likely be working on many events at once and may not have excess inventory to accommodate your last minute requests. Plan in advance and order a few things, despite what your speakers may need, so you don’t miss out.
Not allowing enough time for setup
One of the biggest areas that event planners overlook is underestimating the amount of time it takes to set up their event. Event setups often take longer than anticipated as challenges generally will arise and you might have to make changes. The best way to avoid running out of time is to include setup time in your runsheet and always add more time for setup than you think you will need. It’s better to have excess time and be relaxed before your event starts than running around at the last minute. You must contact your suppliers at least 48 hours before the event to confirm what time they will be arriving and ask if they have any questions you can solve beforehand. Doing this can help to speed up your setup on event day.
Forgetting to anticipate that problems will arise
Even the most seasoned of events organisers know problems will arise on the day. It’s Murphy’s Law! The best way to avoid this is to make contingency plans, anticipating what might go wrong. Make sure you have extra copies of programs, ensure a speaker has sent their presentation through ahead of time in case they leave their USB at home, give any materials you shipped a few extra days to arrive, check, double check and triple check how the technology works, order extra food and make a packing list. If you have a checklist of all the things you need, you will be less likely to leave anything behind.
Sometimes mistakes happen and this can be stressful. But if you are prepared, this can help lessen the blow and make your event appear smooth, professional, and seamless despite how you may be feeling inside. If you would like help with your next event, contact us today.