You’re planning an event, and you know it’s going to be stressful.
You want to avoid any and all mistakes possible; however, you’re real with yourself.
You understand that events rarely go perfectly, but you’re ready to think on your feet, as well as create contingency plans that keep you covered.
In this article, you’ll find the seven obvious mistakes that every event planner makes at least once in their career.
Know that you’re not alone if you made one, some, or all of these mistakes.
7 Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid
#1. You Email the Wrong Person
You’re frustrated, upset, and stressed all at the same time. Your venue is being a pain with your accommodations for your speakers, attendees, and staff. In a time of need, you write out an email, venting your frustrations to your event partner. After you hit send, you realize that you’ve sent the email to your venue contact. You frantically search for the “undo” button, but it’s been more than five seconds. The email is sent.
Know that you’re not the first to send a text or email to the wrong person — and you won’t be the last. Remember that you’re human. In fact, a “bad” situation can be spun into a good one.
Apologize to the person you just emailed, and then spin the situation into a positive by asking for feedback. You can request how you can do better at communicating so that the venue is easier to book and prepare for the next event.
#2. You Spend Over Your Budget
You underestimated what your event would cost. Whether it be paying for missed permit costs or tents to cover your audience due to weather, it all adds up in the end. You’re adamant about keeping your event at or below budget, but it got away from you this time.
Now that you’ve overspent, you cannot take it back. You’re “on the ropes” and it’s gut-check time. Moving forward, you need to scrutinize your spending and budget and find a way to make this event work. Call in favors. Search for opportunities to trade.
For your next event, give yourself 10-15% of wiggle room so that you can better spend your budget. When you push your expenditures right up against your budget ceiling, it’s like scheduling speakers with 60-second breaks between each presentation. There’s little-to-no room to breathe. Give yourself some space within your budget.
#3. You Ordered the Wrong Amount of Food
You put together the food order, but when it arrives, you notice that it’s not enough. There will be dozens more people than there will be meals for them. Now what?
First, take a deep breath. This isn’t the first time that attendees have had to deal with not having food or drink at an event.
Second, publicly apologize to your attendees. While they may grumble and gripe a bit, they will understand.
Finally, it’s time you think on your feet and get your people something to eat and/or drink as soon as possible. You can call around some carry-out restaurants to see if they can send over something quick. You could also have one or two of your staff head to the nearest grocery store and get what you need.
Next time, remember to overestimate food and drink needs by at least 10%. Put a backup plan in place, too, for moments like these that you and every other event planner has experienced.
#4. You Under-Communicate
Your event is perfectly planned, but will you, your team, and your suppliers all deliver on their promises? If you find that certain tasks or responsibilities are getting missed, it may be time to increase your amount of communication (or get more clear on what you expect).
Now, you should not have to micromanage people, but you do need to tell people what needs to happen and how. This is simply a part of the process. Don’t worry about stepping on people’s toes in a moment like this. Approach your communication with the attitude that you’re going to help get things on track and moving in the right direction.
#5. You Assume Transportation Is a Guarantee
You and your staff are buzzing around your event the morning of its start. The suppliers and vendors are ready to go. You’re getting ready to open the doors to your attendees. Then, you get a phone call saying that one of your scheduled vehicles has broken down, and it will be out of service for the next two days.
If you’ve dealt with this situation, you’re right to panic. How often does a vehicle break down the day of an event? Often enough that it’s something to plan for, honestly. You want to have a contingency plan for any and all transportation for your presenters or esteemed guests. Make sure you have a backup vehicle (or three) ready to go out.
#6. You Under Staff Your Event
Your event is here, and it’s going off without a hitch. Everything up to this point has gone super smooth. Your attendees are taking in all that your speakers are presenting.
Then, you have a “situation” occur that requires the attention of you and your staff. You call in to have some staff take care of the situation, but no one can pull off of what they’re doing. You head over to take care of it yourself, but you get a second call about needing assistance somewhere else. You cannot be in two places at once. What do you do?
Make sure that between your staff, the vendors’ staff, and any other individuals available to manage the event, you have enough people to keep things running smoothly. Consider the amount of people that will be attending your event, how many may need help at any given moment, and how the entire staff functions to take care of your attendees and speakers. While staffing an event may take some educated guesswork, do your best and put your attendees first if you have any decisions to make.
#7. You Wear the Wrong Shoes
You’re super excited for your event. You have some big names booked, and you want to look your best (who wouldn’t?). So, you go out and get a new outfit, buy some new shoes, and prepare for the best event you’ve planned to-date.
Once the event starts, you notice that your new shoes are rubbing you the wrong way. Your heels are feeling the burn. After an hour, you realize that you have an emergency situation on your hands (more like your feet). You cannot spend the next 10 hours in these new shoes.
You and every other event planner has worn a new pair of shoes (or even the wrong pair of shoes) during an event. Wear something that’s fashionable but also comfortable. You’re going to be on your feet a lot during your event, so take care of yourself and your feet.
Event Planning Mistakes to Avoid
You may have already made the mistakes listed in this article. You may have yet to make them. In either situation, keep in mind the event planning mistakes you want to avoid:
- You Email the Wrong Person
- You Spend Over Your Budget
- You Ordered the Wrong Amount of Food
- You Under-Communicate
- You Assume Transportation Is a Guarantee
- You Under Staff Your Event
- You Wear the Wrong Shoes
Remember to not make the mistake of hiring a keynote speaker that does not fit your event. You want a speaker that will tell a story, deliver a message, and touch on your event’s theme. Platinum Speakers Agency is here with a roster of speakers that you can trust to do just that.