Mistakes Event Managers Make and How to Avoid Them

Mistakes Event Managers Make and How to Avoid Them

How much do you care about your events? Let me help you with the answer. The more you obsess with avoiding previous planning mistakes, the more committed you are.


Yet, there are some mistakes that we, as event managers, often repeat, without even realizing it. Why is this happening? You see, apart from concrete mistakes, such as overestimating the budget or being unable to keep up with the latest updates, there are many other types of errors. Let's call them 'core mistakes'.


These kinds of errors refer to an event manager's ability to analyze, understand, and argument each action he or she takes when planning an event. In other words, when a planner lacks vision, he or she may repeat the following mistakes: 



Mistake #1: Focusing on logistics, instead of the experience

The easiest thing while planning an event is to get lost in the huge amount of “to do” lists and event spreadsheets. No doubt, you have to follow the protocol and accomplish all the logistic tasks. Yet, don’t forget why you do that. Planning an event is much more than having to deal with the logistics - you are also creating new, memorable experiences for the attendee.


When you focus too much on the logistics, you forget about the general vision. If you find yourself in this situation, stop and review the goals of the event. Also, ask yourself how the attendees will feel. Then, revisit your decisions and see if they correspond to your general vision.


How to avoid this mistake:

Before starting to plan, set clear event goals. Determine what type of experience you want your attendees to have and how this will influence the logistics. Every time you take a decision related to the event, ask yourself, "Why am I doing that?"



Mistake #2: Making things difficult for the attendees

What seems easy and simple to you may be difficult and confusing for your audience. Attendees need clear instructions on how to do things. You may think that everyone will understand how to register online for the event or locate the venue, but don't assume. If you leave room for doubts, there will most likely be attendees doing things the wrong way.

For example, say you want the audience to move from the point A to point B, from one building block to another. What are you going to do? Just tell them, "Go to the point B. I'll see you there?" Of course not. If you do this, you risk losing people on the journey or at least making them feel uncomfortable because of the lack of clear directions. To help them move from one point to another, it’s important to have lots of arrow indicators, and if possible, a few volunteers to show them the way. This way, you'll ensure that everyone is on the same page and nothing is left to misinterpretation.


How to avoid this mistake:

Before taking a decision that will alter the audience behavior, ask yourself, "Will the attendees understand what I want them to do?" Each time you say to yourself, "Of course they'll understand; they aren't dumb", stop and rethink it. The best thing course of action is to “test drive” your instructions with your colleagues to see if they understand the indications and can follow them. 



Mistake #3: Using event technology tools for wrong reasons

Are you thinking about how to use avatars, live polls, and wearable technology all at the same time? If you are, stop.


You are asking the wrong question. As event managers, we are bombarded with applications, platforms, and technology tools that "will positively improve the ROI." So it's understandable if you feel overwhelmed and also want to try everything at the same time. Yet, the only reason we need apps and gadgets when planning an event is to solve problems. For example, use a live poll app to make attendees engage more. Or use a RFID system when you have a high attendance rate and you have to authenticate everyone as quickly as possible. And don’t use any of these tools only for the 'wow' factor. 


How to avoid this mistake:

Again, ask yourself why you want to use a specific technology tool. What planning issues do you have that can't be solved in other ways? If you use event applications or platforms, ask yourself why you chose this one and not an alternative one. Each time you run an event, identify the positive and the negative aspects of using a certain technology tool. Take notes, see if it solved your planning problem, and decide if you’ll use it the next time.



Wrap up

Don't be afraid to make mistakes when planning events. It's the best way to learn and improve. Yet, be always aware of everything. Justify every decision you make and always check if you are acting in the alignment with the event’s goals and attendees' needs. With each event, you’ll become better. Constant practice and awareness is the best method to make fewer mistakes.


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