13 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Event

May 23rd, 2011 by under Event Planning & Marketing. 1 Comment.

Events can be an integral part of your business and it is important to gather as much information as possible before you begin. Familiarizing yourself with these common mistakes will help you become aware of some common problems. You can avoid them by first becoming aware, and then taking the necessary steps for prevention.

Familiarizing yourself with these common mistakes will help you become aware of problems you can avoid when organizing your event.

  1. Short marketing cycle. Be sure to give yourself ample time to promote your event. A good rule of thumb is at least 90-120 days for a medium-sized event with about 75 attendees.
  2. Competing with yourself. Many promoters become their own competition by putting on multiple events occurring close together. When your audience receives marketing for different events they are confused.
  3. Not delivering on your promises. Being true to your word will maintain your credibility and ensure future success. Create checklists of each offer you make in your marketing so you will not forget to follow through on your promises.
  4. Overpaying. Keep your costs down by shopping around for hotels, etc. Make sure the audio-visual team is aware of the specific hours for each day so there are no surprise charges. Keep your staffing to a minimum; you should be able to run a 4-day/75-person event with yourself and 2-3 others. Negotiate ahead of time to get the meeting room free when you satisfy your room block.
  5. Losing control of the room. Maintaining control of your audience is necessary for staying on schedule and running smoothly. Holding questions until after will help.
  6. Not running on schedule. Controlling the schedule helps control the room. Start on time in the morning, continue promptly after breaks, and end when you say you will. If you are behind schedule, stop and ask whether they’d like to stay longer to finish the material or end on time.
  7. Poor scheduling at your event. The order in which you place your speakers has a big impact on the success of your event. Other factors are involved, but in general it is better to place speakers selling less expensive products before speakers selling higher priced product. Consider when certain topics are covered and make sure refreshments are not served while speakers are on stage.
  8. Being cheap. People paid good money to attend your event. Make sure they get what they expect, like complimentary refreshments.
  9. Hiring the wrong coordinator. It is best to work with someone who specializes in information marketing.
  10. Close your office. There is no good reason to close down your office; you are only losing money and frustrating your clients who are not at the event.
  11. Miscalculating. Be accurate with your calculations and have realistic expectations. If your list includes 1,000 people you should not expect to get 500 of them at your event.
  12. Mismanaging the event. Good management ensures a successful event. Things like time management, traffic flow, and having enough order forms are small things that can be overlooked by poor management.
  13. Not selling enough. Many promoters think they should just educate the attendees; they feel bad about selling. Bottom line: you are there to make money. There are ways to give valuable information and sell product at the same event.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when planning for event. Staying organized and thorough will help you avoid mistakes, but expect to make some. Small mistakes are inevitable even if you are a seasoned event planner; learning from your own experiences and talking to others about their experience will help you become effective at this process.

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One Comment

Ben  on June 2nd, 2011

This is an excellent list. As someone who has attended and hosted many events, I have too often seen mistakes just like these ruin an otherwise superb event. I often use events that I attend as a chance to see where businesses succeed and/or fail at planning and hosting their event and then use that or learn from that for my own event. Relating a personal experience, for a long time I hosted events using print ticketing and, while it was okay, it was time-consuming, tedious, and a bit outdated. Recently, I went through a online ticket service to sell tickets for one of my events and the results were amazing. The ticketing online company was called Ticketbud ( and they specialized in selling tickets at a flat fee, utilizing social media and the Internet to help spread the word about the event, log ticket sales, etc. Their service was great and really opened my eyes to online ticketing. I highly recommend using a ticketing service that operates online as it is extremely efficient and, most importantly, cost effective. I significantly reduced my budget expenses on ticketing and was able to use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about my event quickly using a tool many of my guests were already comfortable using (who doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter now). Anyways, the point of this long diatribe is to advocate online ticketing as a way to prevent overpaying and reduce expenses. Otherwise, awesome article. Thanks!

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