11 Dec CORPORATE EVENT PLANNING: 10 HUMILIATING ROOKIE MISTAKES
DON’T FORGET THE EVENT LIMO OR CATERING!
Planning effective corporate events is really nothing short of a complex science. The executive assistants or professional event planners behind these gatherings have to worry about everything from big-picture issues like scheduling for hundreds or even thousands of attendees, and minute details like table setting placement. While some may think it’s inevitable that something goes awry, we believe that perfect planning is definitely within reach. Here are some ways to improve your next gathering:
1. BEING UNREALISTIC ABOUT BUDGET
You may have very little control over how much you’re alloted to spend on the event. That being said, you should be reasonable about what you’re able to do with that venue. A conversation with your boss to ask for more funds is going to go a lot better if you petition in the early planning stages with quotes from venues in hand than when you’ve already exceeded your budget.
2. LATE EVENT SCHEDULING
Scheduling can be one of the most challenging aspects of an event, particularly if you’re responsible for securing your own caterer and florist. Be aware that during peak event seasons, which is typically winter and early summer, you’ll need to book your vendors much further in advance.
3. IGNORING CORPORATE EVENT TRANSPORTATION
The last thing any organization wants to deal with is the aftermath of employees who haven’t drank responsibly, and then decided to drive themselves home. Corporate event limo service is a necessity if you’re serving alcohol.
4. NOT KNOWING WHEN TO CALL FOR HELP
There’s a major difference between planning a dinner party for 10 and 150, and 150 and 1,000. As with any situation, it’s far better to call in help well in advance then find yourself pulling an all-nighter before an event to fold napkins. Some professional, certified event planners (CMP) may be willing to lend advice on a consultant basis.
5. NOT THINKING ABOUT ATTENDEES
It’s easy to view event-planning like a checklist, but remember it’s about the experience. This measure is especially crucial if you’ll be entertaining clients. Will guests have enough to keep them occupied? Is your menu designed to accomodate all special dietary needs? Do you have entertainment planned, and have you kept self-promotion under check? Above all else, the attendee experience is key.
6. NOT READING THE FINE PRINT
It’s always better to ask permission than forgiveness, at least in the case of your event budget. Be sure and ready every vendor contract thoroughly, from catering to bartending, to be sure you’re aware of any extra fees for gratuities. Subject matter expert Allison Rice points out that many rookie event planners can be taken by surprise by vendor minimums.
7. NOT USING YOUR VENDOR’S EXPERTISE
In best scenarios, your vendors are truly on your side. Whether you need your limo company’s help planning complex airport transfers or your caterer’s advice on wine pairings, there’s a good chance that all you need to do is ask. For professional meeting planners, these long-term relationships can be an invaluable career asset.
8. IGNORING FIRST IMPRESSIONS
If you’re having external attendees at your event, first impressions are everything. It doesn’t matter how elegantly you’ve planned your menu if your potential client spends 30 minutes waiting at a disorganized registration table. Every minute of the event matters, so be sure your guests encounter organization when they walk in the door.
9. ASSUMING ANYTHING
Too many meetings have ended in embarrassment because someone in charge assumed the wrong thing. Don’t assume your speaker will be engaging or prepared – watch videos of their prior presentations. Don’t assume your caterers know where to park.
10. ORDERING TOO LITTLE FOOD
If your event is more than an hour, there’s a good chance you want to order more than enough food. No one wants to leave the event ravenous because the caterer prepared three appetizers per guest. Order enough for extras!
What corporate event planning mistakes do you encounter most often?
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