The role of an Event Planner can sometimes be perceived as glamorous, exciting and adventurous. Trips to exotic places, meeting new people and staying at fabulous hotels. Some see our life as one big holiday and I hear people say… “I could do that job”.
In reality, event management is very different. Yes, I have travelled across the world, but often at the back of economy and after a 20-hour flight, jumping straight into work in a windowless conference room battling with language barriers, jet leg and the realisation that in 48 hours you will be back in economy going home.
As an Event Planner, you must always be willing to learn, learning through peers, mistakes and always through experience. Event management is a craft that can take many years to perfect.
During my career, I have learnt what to do and importantly not what to do. So, I thought I would create a checklist of 6 mistakes Event Planners make, to help new recruits get started!
One: Not confirming Suppliers
As an Event Planner, you source, manage and coordinate your suppliers so as to deliver the event solution. Without your suppliers, your event won’t take place. So many times, I have seen new recruits ‘assume’ suppliers know what they are doing and equally ‘assume’ all has been confirmed. Confirm, re confirm and then confirm again.
Two: Not Paying Suppliers
You wouldn’t go to work if you were not paid. So, don’t expect your suppliers to. Make sure all your suppliers are paid on time as they need to earn a salary too, and with this, make sure you invoice your client on time and that monies are collected when needed. You don’t want to turn up on site with suppliers refusing to deliver because you haven’t paid up!
Three: Murphy’s Law
It does exist and you need to know what to do in an emergency. In my time, I have had broken bones, medical airlifts, monsoons and evacuations. Away from home, your client and delegates expect you to be in charge and know what to do. From band aids and paracetamol to having a full evacuation plan, being good at event management means you need to know what to do and how to do it. Create an emergency action plan, expect the unexpected and be ready.
Four: Not Planning
You are an Event Planner, so plan! Create a plan, develop a schedule and ensure your suppliers and client knows the detail from the beginning to the end. It’s all in the detail and that’s what event management is all about.
In my time I have seen Event Planners turn up without as much as an agenda. Or, working through the night prior to the event creating a schedule for suppliers. This doesn’t help suppliers who are often already onsite and haven’t a clue what to do.
Five: Delegate Communication
I was recently a delegate at an event, an event without an Event Planner. It showed. No one ‘really’ knew what to do, where to go and there was an element of confusion.
An essential skill in event management is good communication, ensuring delegates know what to do. Eight out of ten issues are caused by lack of communication. Delegates need to know what they are doing, where to go, timings and locations. Assume a delegate knows nothing about the event and work from this point.
Six: Not Being Current
We have all been to the event of predictability. The event where you are spoken to for an entire day, only to be rewarded with an uncomfortable evening with forced fun where no one knows each other. The Event Planner is left shocked as to why the event is over by 21:30 and delegates have rushed off to “check emails”.
Events need to be personal. What does the delegate need and want from the event? Event management is now about individualised rates of return, creating personalised experiences that give delegates an opportunity to interact, network, learn and develop. By creating events where delegates become participants rather than the audience, you create an event that has lasting impact.