Last Updated on October 7, 2021
For every successful event, there are at least three that fail – sometimes spectacularly. As an event management professional, you want to do everything in your power to ensure that your events are the ones that succeed.
In order for your event to go right, you first need to determine exactly what causes those others to go south.
After all, everything happens for a reason. Although I’ve never really been a fan of clichés, that phrase most definitely applies here. An event doesn’t simply fizzle out on its own. Today, we’re going to go over a few of the most common causes of failure in event planning – and how to avoid them.
The Event Didn’t Have A Clear Concept
I’ve said it many times before, but it bears mentioning again – before you run an event for someone, it needs to be absolutely clear what they want to get out of it. Do they want to increase awareness of their brand, and give guests an opportunity to experience their products? Do they want to attract potential business partners and form valuable networking connections? Are they simply trying to inform their guests about a particular issue or initiative?
The most frequent cause of failure in event planning is a lack of focus. Having a clear idea of an event’s purpose and audience before getting into the planning stages isn’t just a good idea – it’s vital.
You Didn’t Provide The Proper Tech
Another fairly common gaffe involves equipment failure. As I’m certain I’ve mentioned before, I attended a charity video game tournament back during my University days. The hosts of the event had stubbornly refused to listen to any input from the campus video game club when planning the competition. As a result, it was an utter fiasco – the University’s network crashed and burned under the strain of the tournament, and almost none of the people in attendance actually gained any enjoyment out of it.
The lesson here is simple: make sure the equipment you’re using is up to task, and that you’ve got enough gear to go around.
The Food Was Bad
If you’re serving food at an event, be careful. Although the wrong menu choices aren’t likely to ruin the whole event, they most definitely can cast a dark pall over the rest of the proceedings. Avoid messy foods, and anything that contains garlic; make sure that your caterers are fully vetted, as well.
Your Guest Speakers Fell Flat
Particularly if you’re running an informational conference or a convention, you need to make sure that the guest speakers you’ve scheduled are knowledgeable, intelligent, and – most importantly – interesting to listen to. Many conferences have been transformed into an utter bore by a speaker who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Make sure yours isn’t one of them.
There Was A Crisis
Not every failure can be traced back to the event planner. Sometimes things get out of control – a freak storm, a security disaster, a catastrophic equipment failure; any of these can cause an event to readily grind to a halt. All you can really do in these cases is draft up a plan for when they happen, and make sure you apologize to your guests.
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Hackathons — show me a Silicon Valley organization that doesn’t frequently host one, and I’ll show you a business with next to no innovation within its walls.