Something will go wrong at your next event. It is simply a fact – with so many details, both big and small that need to be accounted for, you can almost be sure that there will be at least a few fires that you’ll have to put out over the course of the event planning and execution process.
However, that does not mean that an event is doomed to be a failure – most mistakes are nothing more than minor hitches which can be quickly solved by most adept event managers. Still, there are a few mistakes that are so crucial that they often prove too difficult to fix in a timely manner, even for the most experienced and skilled event planners.
And the worst part is, even the best of the best can sometimes succumb to them.
That’s why all good event planners must get ahead of these all too often seen mistakes and consider them from the very start of the event planning process. So here are some of the worst mistakes that can be made by an event planner:
Poor Communication With the Client
If we were to pinpoint the number one reason that many events turn out to be failures, it would most likely be miscommunication between the client and the event manager.
No matter how much experience an event planner might have, the success of the event will be largely measured by the client. Thus any expertise that a planner might have will be worth nothing, if the client will not approve of the style or methods chosen for a particular event.
A good event planner is successful because they are able to put aside their own expertise and carefully listen to what the client has to say – understand his/her point of view, vision and desires and only then use their own expertise to make constructive suggestions that could improve the event, or take it to the next level.
Of course, there will be clients that’ll simply decide to leave everything up to the event planner, but even in these instances it’s probably a good idea to keep the client updated on the progress and double-check with them on all the essential steps.
Bad Choice of Staff
Finding the perfect balance between the contractors, vendors and outsourced staff is a really tough job – although most event planners tend to compile a rolodex full of people they have successfully hired in the past, getting the right combination of people is just as important.
After all, even with the most trustworthy suppliers as staff members change so can the quality of their work; it’s not one of those situations where you can “set it and forget it” – it’s crucial to consistently renew the list of choice suppliers for all situations and not let personal relationships overshadow objective hiring criteria.
Also, it’s important to try and get as much information as possible about the qualifications of each supplier – you want to make sure in advance that they will be capable to deliver on exactly what you need, so always strive to be specific about each event.
Cutting the Wrong Corners
We work in an industry where the requirements often don’t go hand in hand with the available recourses. As a result, many event managers, not wanting to confront their clients, simply try and reduce costs wherever it seems possible.
The problem with this approach is that you get what you pay for – the estimates that you came up with before the event are there for a reason, and each part of the event has its price.
What ends up happening is that a subpar supplier is hired who cannot meet expectations, or the venue turns out to be of poor quality. The truth is that in this industry one simply can’t expect to hire a cheap photographer or host and expect the same quality – this hurts the event much more than the extra expenses a quality supplier or venue would have cost.
The only sensible approach is to be straightforward with the client and let them know that either the budget or the event will have to be adjusted. In fact, it’s even better to provide yourself with a bit of room in the proposal initially, so that you could compensate unexpected costs that could arise.
An event planner is an often under-appreciated profession – even though the job does require a unique set of expertise, as well as the ability to multi-task and be able to quickly solve arising problems.
But even the most savvy event organizers can sometimes succumb to mistakes that can cost the event – not communicating enough with the client, not thinking through the staff requirements or trying to please the client by cutting costs. All of this ends up coming back to the event manager and sometimes severely damaging the quality of the event.
While you can be almost certain that something will go wrong in your next event, if you at least avoid these fundamental pitfalls, you can be more confident that any smaller crisis can be quickly averted.
Jeremy - Content Strategist, A List Guide
Jeremy is a content strategist at A List Guide, a part of Intermedia Group, one of the most comprehensive & targeted B2B advertising networks in Australia. A List Guide is a stylish and comprehensive online and print directory listing the best venues, event suppliers and team-building activities in each state and territory of Australia.