5 Critical Event Planning Mistakes Every Event Manager Must Avoid!

Essential Event Planning Tips to Avoid a Disastrous Special Event

event planning mistakes

Let’s face it, Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong then it probably will! That’s just a basic fact of life that oftentimes we have to live with.

But when it comes to event planning, a competent event manager will always look to mitigate Murphy’s Law by recognizing the potential for things to go awry and planning accordingly.

As an event manager, it’s absolutely your responsibility to make sure that your special event runs smoothly and with as few hitches as humanly possible.

In the real world it’s not feasible to cover every possibility but at the very least you should be aware of critical event planning mistakes every event manager must avoid.

Forewarned is forearmed so let’s dig into some essential tips that may well help you avoid an unmitigated disaster at your next special event.

  1. Bad communication - this is probably the most common mistake made by inexperienced event planners and is one to be avoided at all costs as bad communication can literally spell disaster.
    Bad communication is often the result of a lack of attention to detail especially when it comes to your event checklist. It’s absolutely crucial that you communicate effectively with both your internal event team and your suppliers. While it’s not in your best interest to micromanage or make a nuisance of yourself you need to be on top of the communication process and ensure that everyone involved in the event knows exactly what is expected of them and on exactly what timescale.
  1. Poor or missing contingency planning - remember Murphy’s Law? Things are likely to go wrong in the lead up to and of course during your upcoming special event. That’s normal and to be expected. A professional event planner will think ahead, identify the potential for things to go wrong and have good contingency planning in place. For example, what if your registration system malfunctions on the day, what if you were to run out of food or drink, what if there are not enough parking spaces available, what if your keynote speaker fails to arrive on time, what if the sound system or projection system give problems on the day of your event - would you be able to cope? Would you have a plan B?
  1. Inadequate transportation - are you absolutely sure that the transportation you’ve organized to get delegates and presenters to and from your event is adequate? It’s important to check in the weeks leading up to your event and even (at the last minute) on the day of the event itself that all your transportation requirements are adequately met. Again, think in terms of contingency here – what happens if a vehicle or vehicles breakdown on the day of your event, do you have a backup plan?
  2. Lack of clear signage - there is nothing more frustrating for delegates than attending a special event and being unsure or confused about where the next presentation or demonstration is being held. Avoid this by making absolutely sure that you display adequate signage that is easily read and understood. It’s better to go overboard here than leave your attendees lost and bewildered and continually asking for directions.
  3. Inadequate staff on hand – on the day of your special event you will likely be dealing with a very large number of attendees. Don’t make the mistake of relying on just one or two individuals to deal with delegate’s questions or concerns. Make absolutely sure that you know your numbers and above all ensure that between your event planning team and personnel provided by vendors, you have adequate staff on hand.

    And finally, there is an old saying that goes “assumption makes an ass of you and me” and that has never been truer than when applied to event management. Never, ever assume that all the bases are covered – make sure they are! If in any doubt the best policy is always to check and double check. Don’t leave things until the last minute and find yourself fighting fires on the day of your event.