By: Neil Coombes on Aug 30, 2022 1:39:00 PM
Although extremely rewarding, planning an event is a tough gig – and not one for the faint of heart. Events are – by nature – a very public affair (even when they’re invitation-only). There’s potentially a lot of people who will see it as sink or swim.
We’re not saying this to worry you. Chances are, if you stay on your toes, it’ll be alright on the night. However, the difference between a marvellous or mediocre event often depends on the details; and if you’re not a seasoned organiser, it can be difficult to judge whether your meticulous plans will flourish.
Here at UKSV, we have over 150 years of collective industry expertise. From internal corporate events to award shows, product launches and everything in-between, we know what makes attendees tick; as well as how to get the best from your budget and meet your specific goals.
However, many of the most serious mistakes are actually the most common – and easy to avoid.
So, don’t let it happen to you. Take a look at our 7 Sins of Event Planning and make sure you don’t end up in Hindsight Hell…
When do you think you need to start planning your event?
Here’s a clue: It’ll almost definitely be before that.
We can’t over-emphasise how important it is to start planning as early as possible. No matter how much time you think you need… it’ll be more. Delays from suppliers, negotiating the best deals, dodging the unexpected… it all takes time that’s difficult to account for in advance, mostly because it’ll be outside of your immediate control.
Your event date is a hard deadline, so maximise your run-up so you aren’t caught short.
No doubt your event is a masterpiece in your own mind, but communication is vital to ensure that everyone is aligned.
It’s imperative to create a thorough plan which details all responsibilities and expectations, which helps everyone in your team to understand and commit to the overall goal. So, make sure your plan is written up and distributed amongst key stakeholders so there’s no margin for misinterpretation and your collective chances of success are maximised.
A huge event planning pitfall is when the ideal participant is overlooked.
It’s essential that you define:
Your event can’t deliver what its audience needs if the audience itself is in dispute (or simply not analysed at all). Take the time to consider their specific needs and you’ll avoid the awkwardness of inviting reams of people to an event that, ultimately, is speaking to somebody else.
No matter how well you plan your budget and communicate this in your event plan, overspending can still happen – and once the money’s gone, it’s gone.
Make sure you have a contingency plan for over-spending by keeping a sum in reserve. You should also keep an ongoing forecast of your costs by checking the spend weekly, daily or however often is necessary to stay on top. In doing so, you can account for any slight over-spends by adjusting the overall budget in real time (rather than having a nasty surprise at the end of the project).
In addition, you should endeavour to work closely with suppliers to understand what you are paying for – and mitigate the chance of hidden expenses later down the line.
There are few scenarios more galling than arduously planning an event, only for it to have a painfully poor uptake.
Make sure you keep track of sign-up numbers and do all you can to turn an RSVP into a physical attendee – such as nurturing with emails, so they don’t forget or lose interest in the run-up.
You should be able to forecast numbers based on this process and, in turn, have a back-up plan if you think turnout will be low. If you’re worried that you might not have enough attendees to align with your original plan, this is a good opportunity to consider the event format. For example, you might be able to pivot to a virtual event if you don’t think you’ll get quite enough physical attendees; or, if your event is vastly over-subscribed (hurrah!), you could attempt a hybrid offering that will allow some attendees to participate remotely.
Once your event has taken place, you should absolutely celebrate your achievements (or perhaps just unclench your jaw and breathe a sigh of relief!). However, what you shouldn’t do is immediately move on to the next project.
Every event is a learning opportunity, so be sure to reflect and ask for feedback. Even if you feel it was a roaring a success, there will absolutely be something that can be improved for next time (and you might not realise until you ask).
To truly confirm that your event was a hit, it helps to determine success criteria in advance. By reporting on these metrics, you can objectively prove whether your event met its goals – which could not only help you to secure budget for a future project, but also ensure you get the professional recognition you deserve.
Yes, we know… it’s a bit of a contradiction. “You don’t know what you don’t know”, as they say.
Ultimately, expecting all the twists and turns of event planning is down to experience. That’s exactly why an events planner is your secret weapon… An accomplished one will be able to look over your shoulder, anticipate hidden pitfalls and make sure they don’t derail you.
THAT’S WHY YOU NEED UKSV
When you partner with us, you’ll benefit from…
So, why not talk to us about your event plan? Whether you need a complete proposal or just a helping hand, our experts are ready to guide you!
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