This article talks about the worst of the worst advice that event planners hear – and if you’re an event planner be sure to read this post below:
When I left my corporate job and started my own business I had several well-meaning friends who forwarded me job descriptions with polite emails that read, “Thought you might be interested.” They didn’t really understand. This wasn’t a phase I was going through. It was something I was committed to making a success. After three years of doing my own thing, my mother still asks how long I plan on “doing this” as if it’s a passing fancy.
Advice can have the same misdirected application. And event planners hear a lot of it. Everyone who has ever thrown a party believes that make them qualified to plan events. Sure, some people have a natural skill, but most people outside of the industry don’t understand what goes into planning. That’s probably why there’s so much lousy advice out there. Here are some of my favorites:
Wowing your audience is great but it doesn’t give you license to ignore the details. If you do, someone will notice and that “wow” experience will lose its luster.
You won’t so commit it to ink or insist the vendor you’re working with should add it to the contract. If it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist.
And wait and wait…
This will be the first thing they complain about it – even those with hotspots.
This is often something the event client will tell you when average attendees are middle-aged and older. Do not listen to him/her. They are on social. They use technology.
Insert any kind of marketing in this piece of advice because many people believe marketing just happens. They don’t see the extraordinary amount of work that goes on underneath the tip of the marketing iceberg. Never forget to ask for what it is you want people to do. Sure they might say no, but it’s also the only way they’ll say yes. In a study published in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 2009, they estimated 53% of the population is psychic. Even so, it’s not worth the risk. Just ask for it.
First, this advice is a double-edged sword. If you don’t prepare for what could go wrong, you won’t be prepared when it does, but if you worry about everything that could go wrong, you will be so anxiety-ridden you won’t want to leave your bed. Instead, play the odds. Prepare for things that most often go wrong. For instance, when I got married I had the brilliant idea to do my own flowers – everything from centerpieces to boutonnières.
My photographer asked for a boutonnière as well. At the time I was a little put out but adhered to his request. I counted and recounted my numbers making sure none of the groomsmen were left out. Turns out I was right about the groomsmen and forgot the groom. My photographer had seen this happen countless times and his request was merely a safeguard against it. Prepare for the things you know are likely to happen, like rain on the day of an outside event, but don’t worry about a zombie apocalypse. There’s simply not enough time.
Okay, this is not advice but a very common mistake. If you have people offering, take them up on their offer. You know your event staff will be running around attending to last minute needs. Volunteers can help staff positions (like registration or info desk, if you have these) to allow staff to attend to weightier matters.
True, only if by “makes a little extra” you mean you can order pizza from your cell phone.
You’ll often hear people say, I sent an email. Never chance communication to one form of media. Send an email, place the update on your app and event technology, and announce it at the event if necessary. You never know when someone is not paying attention and the last thing you want is to get feedback that they never received the critical information.
Do you plant a garden or just hope that a bird drops a rose seed just where you want it? It’s easy to think networking happens organically, and it can, but it also doesn’t hurt to give it a little push. Help first-time attendees get acclimated. Help lone attendees meet their tribe. Connections will keep people coming back so make sure you assist them in happening.
I know this sounds a bit doom and gloom but an event planner who is in charge of many, many people should at least be aware of best practices in violent situations. It’s now a job requirement.
Events have become very personalized. While this is generally good information and one that fits most audiences (everyone likes to eat), there are some instances and some groups that are best served spending your “splurge” budget item on something other than edibles.
A successful event planner runs options by the client ahead of time so that each decision needn’t be signed off on if the top choice isn’t available. Instead of switching the April event to May without checking with the client because you’re sure “He won’t mind. It’s still the spring.” or instead of having to go back on each date, have several he has approved ahead of time. This will save time and effort.
Opinions are like annoying relatives, everybody has one. Ultimately it’s up to you whether you listen to the advice of others or not. (Although, we highly suggest not using any of the bad advice in this article.) But remember, very few of those giving the advice know your attendees and clients the way you do. Personalization to their preferences is what matters and what makes a successful event planner today.
Virtual Fusions is a excellent cloud-hosted platform that will help you plan your event and also empower your attendees to build connections. Find out more.