All event planners do well to attend other events as a guest. Experiencing an event through the eyes of a guest gives you an opportunity to observe event staff in action. You can more easily notice what works well, and what doesn't.
Here, for example, are four mistakes common to poorly managed events, along with tips for repeating them at your events.
1. Unfriendly registration table
The registration table represents the image of the host and the organisation behind the event. And first impression can become lasting impressions. At the registration table, then, event staff should warmly welcome guests and go out of their way to help them.
Staff should be trained to expect and handle a variety of situations—such as people who do not belong at the event, guests who have lost their invitation, people with difficult personalities, and so forth. This will help the registration staff to feel confident and relaxed, which are keys to maintaining a friendly disposition.
2. Untidy setup
Wise event planners arrive well before start time to observe the setup and perform a series of walk-throughs of the area. Should anything be out of place, they can ask the cleaning or setup staff to clean it up before guests arrive.
3. Program distractions
Most events involve synchronising competing schedules: the agenda of the program organisers, and the work schedule of the venue operations staff. The event planner needs to make sure that both are appropriately in sync.
To illustrate: A keynote presentation will typically occur right after some sort of arrival reception that may include registration tables, food, and beverages. Program participants won’t appreciate venue staff cleaning and moving tables while the program is in session. Clean up and tear down work needs to be carefully planned so as not to interfere with the program agenda.
4. Crisis meltdowns
Murphy’s Law, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong," also applies to events. Equipment malfunction, spills and breakages, fires, heart attacks can happen any time. And during the crisis, you don’t want your staff running around not knowing what to do.
Wise event planners train their team members to respond appropriately to various crisis scenarios that could occur at their event. It is good to rehearse these exercises at least annually.
Good event planners take the time to discuss all aspects of setup, event service, and tear down with banquet managers prior to the event itself. They also oversee event operations before, during, and after to ensure the best event possible for the client.