As 2020 has arrived with a new year and new decade upon us, this is the perfect time to reflect and take inventory on your events that took place last year as well as within the past decade. We are at a pivotal time to focus on what went well, what did not, and what you can do better to ensure all your future events are a success!

To help you prepare for your 2020 goals and map out a clear vision for your events, I’ve compiled a list of some common event planning and management mistakes you will want to steer clear of in the new year. If you ascribe to this list, you will be on the path to ensuring the best on-site event services and solutions for your upcoming events.

Mistake #1: Not Establishing a Clearly Defined Goal for your Event

When planning an event, it’s important to begin with a clear vision of the end in mind. You must first establish what your goals and objectives are and ask questions like, “What is the purpose of this event?”, “What are we trying to achieve?” and “What results do we hope to gain?”

A clear understanding of how your event will help your business will guide you and your team throughout the process with decision making, especially during times when tasks and time objectives can become a bit hectic and overwhelming. It is equally as important to make certain that your goals and objectives are measurable. For example, tracking the number of registrants, event evaluations, tracking the number of returning attendees. It is an event planner’s mission to consider these findings in order to calculate the overall success of the event.

Mistake #2: Not Creating a Process to Maneuver Changes within the Event

There are a lot of moving parts to planning an event and within each component things are always changing. A major mistake is to not effectively manage or track these changes. It is crucial to create and follow a process whereby changes are documented and communicated with your planning team. Non-documented changes can affect the overall execution of an event which include examples like how a venue’s seating capacity affects attendance numbers or how a change in food and beverage directly affects the event’s overall budget. Careful consideration of the changes must be given to determine its impact on the planning timeline as well. One must be able to manage these types of changes in order to avoid issues down the road. 

Mistake #3: Failure to Perform an Event Management Risk Assessment

On the actual day of an event, it is a well-known fact that anything can happen, and it will!  It is important to perform an event risk assessment as an early part of the event planning process. Begin by arranging a brainstorming session with your team to discuss what could happen to derail the event, cause a budget overrun, or to prevent you from delivering the expected results and then come up with resolutions as to how you can mitigate those risks. While this exercise in precaution doesn’t require too much time, it has proven to be enormously helpful in understanding and circumventing any concerns before the actual planning gets underway.

Mistake #4: Poor Partnerships and Lack of Experienced Event Managers

Who you decide to contract with for your events can also deeply impact its success. Without an experienced event manager and on-site staff, your efforts to create a meaningful event will be jeopardized. Experienced and knowledgeable event managers possess the right combination of ‘soft skills’ and can demonstrate how to facilitate planning meetings and manage risk. Additionally, contracting with quality, vetted vendors will also ensure that the part they play in the event will go smoothly. These partnerships include caters, auxiliary equipment companies, photographers, etc. It really comes down to hiring those adjunct services that are aligned with your how you work and the strategies you employ over the course of the planning stages through the end of the event.

Maritza Myrthil is a New York based writer and lover of event planning. She has extensive experience working as an event planner and project manager producing high level events ranging from festivals, tradeshows, galas, weddings, corporate conferences and meetings.

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