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7 Common Event Planning Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them


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Event planning consistently ranks as one of the most challenging — and yes, sometimes most stressful — jobs. In large part, this comes from managing so many moving pieces and parties. We’ve all found ourselves in what can feel like a vicious cycle of solving one problem after the next. But many of these problems stem from common, easy-to-make-mistakes. Before you plan your next event journey, here are 7 common mistakes, and how to avoid them. 

1. Not defining your event goals

Event Planning Mistakes - Defining Event Goals

In just about all of our tips and tricks on the MeetingPlay blog, we remind you that it all starts with setting a clear goal that is aligned to your business and brand. 

What do you hope to achieve from your event? 

Talk with your team, clients and stakeholders about why you want to do this in the first place. Once you’ve established your big picture goal, it’s time to make smaller and measurable goals along the way. 

Take the time to flesh out specifics. For example, how many attendees do you hope to register and how many will be recurring versus new? What is the dollar amount you plan to raise, how many followers do you hope to gain? How many books will be donated, cans recycled or trees planted? Being able to measure your goals is important so that you can track the value of your event and learn for next time. 

2. Not knowing your audience

Equally as important as your organization’s mission is knowing your audience. You can create a spectacular event but if its theme, sessions, presenters, location, etc. are not the right match for your guests, it’s moot. Not only should you take the time to understand your demographics, including age, lifestyle and social media activity but you should take every measure possible to understand and meet their expectations. Of course, the best way to learn is to ask! Check out our tips for pre-event survey questions

3. Poor time management

Event Planning Mistakes - Poor Time ManagementYes, how you manage your day-to-day schedule is important but we also want to emphasize the importance of time management for the event itself. When will you hold your event? Does this conflict with any similar or competitor events? Will your date interfere with any holidays, local or cultural traditions? 

Time management means working with your team to create a realistic calendar of deadlines. Promotional and marketing material should be disbursed strategically and equipment should be given plenty of time for a test run before the opening ceremony.

Furthermore, every line item of your agenda should be timed properly. High energy and motivational sessions are fantastic but should they have breaks or soothing activities in between? When will your guests need a little free time to grab a coffee? What time will lunch be served and are uplifting activities best timed after breaks? These are all details that should be considered and planned accordingly as to not leave your guests feeling bored or burnt out!

4. Behind on technology

Not all audiences need all of the latest bells and whistles, but using clunky, cumbersome or time-sucking technology is a sure way to lose audience attention, create frustration and leave a dated impression. If utilized correctly, event apps and the latest technology can be the most important part of your big day. Including everything from registration kiosks to gamification and augmented reality, new technology can streamline processes and keep your guests excited and engaged. To learn more, check out How to Encourage New Technology Adoption at Your Next Event. 

5. Less than refreshing food and beverage options

Event Planning Mistakes - Less than Refreshing Beverage OptionsFor better or worse, we always remember the food. If you disappoint your guests on the food front, there’s no coming back. Plus, we all need proper fuel. Selecting the best food and beverage options is tied directly to knowing your audience. If your event is all about new products for pastry chefs and baking, you’ll likely want to offer a different menu than for an event that revolves around fitness and going green. In any case, be mindful of dietary restrictions and preferences. Check out our recent post on why it’s also important to include enticing and exciting alcohol-free mocktails.

6. Not having a back-up plan

Like we said, mistakes are bound to happen. However, if you’re prepared with a contingency plan, you can put out fires in a flash. Work with your team on risk assessment for every aspect of your agenda. While you may not be able to see into a crystal ball, you can probably imagine a few hiccups that could occur. If something goes awry what are the best possible steps you can take to keep the event on track?

7. Lack of follow up

Don’t let your event fizzle away into the land of forgotten memories. Extend the life of your event and gather important information for next time through follow up. Thanking your attendees, conducting post event surveys, and sharing a recap or relevant content will go a long way in keeping the buzz alive and making your next event even better. 

How can MeetingPlay help?

Before you start planning your next event, use this list to steer clear of common pitfalls. Work with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page and that you’re aligned in working strategically to serve your attendees and your high-level event goal. To learn more about how MeetingPlay can help with event tech strategy, and get the most out of your event, schedule a free demo or talk it over with a MeetingPlay expert!

If you’re looking for more in-depth advice on events and event tech, subscribe to the MeetingPlay blog

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