Mistakes To Avoid When Planning Your Next Important Event

Author: Nikki Barnett   Date Posted:2 April 2021 

How To Plan A Successful Event

If you’re planning a large event for work or a family occasion, and you’re not a professional event planner, you may be surprised by the amount of work that needs to be done. Planning your first big event requires a lot of preparation and co-ordination. Overlooking even the smallest detail can have disastrous consequences. Guests won’t notice or mind minor slip-ups, and no event can be expected to run perfectly, but avoiding critical event planning mistakes is essential for running a successful event.


There is a lot that goes into planning, managing and running an event, and the hardest work happens behind the scenes. Delivering a great experience to event attendees means paying attention to every detail from start to finish. Creating a step-by-step event plan with a checklist will help you learn how to plan a successful event. Plus, being aware of the most common things that go wrong at events means you won’t be caught off guard. Performing an event risk assessment should be an early part of the event planning process.


Critical Event Planning Mistakes

These are the three most common event planning mistakes that have the potential to derail the entire event. Before you start planning your next event, be sure to brainstorm with your team to avoid these basic event planning oversights.


Not tracking event plan progress or changes

Every person on the planning team needs full visibility of the planning checklist, as well as knowledge of each person’s skills, workload, and responsibilities. As the primary event manager, make sure you assess everyone’s capabilities and know who is doing what. Allocating the right people to managing each part of the event is essential. As vendors, contractors, speakers, and the myriad other minor details change over the course of event planning, it’s critical that everyone is aware of how these changes affect every aspect of the event as well as their own planning responsibilities.


Not being tech-ready

Technical difficulties and technology failures cause the biggest headaches for corporate events. Connecting the laptop and loading speaker presentations may seem like something you can do on the day. But this is an event planning mistake that has the potential to ruin the entire conference. File incompatibilities, ill-timed software updates, or issues with PC and Mac compatibility are common. A full run-through of every presentation with a full AV and tech-check should be carried out well in advance. This should include testing projectors, wifi, microphones, and any other technology related items you plan to use.


Not checking the location in person

Before booking, and again several days before the event, physically check the location to make sure it meets your requirements. Also check the path you expect your guests to take when they arrive. Will they be using public transport? What signage will be needed to direct guests to the registration area? Will all your equipment fit through doorways? Where are power points located? How do event attendees access the internet? Are adequete bathroom facilities close enough to accommodate function numbers. Each of these simple venue requirements needs to be considered and checked in person.


Corporate Event


What can go wrong when planning an event?

Even with the best event planning checklist, there are some things that will be out of your control on the day. While you can’t control every aspect of an event, being aware of these common things that go wrong at the last minute means you can have a backup plan in place and avoid event disasters.  


Common things that go wrong at events:

  1. Bad weather
  2. Venue cancellation or room unavailability
  3. Venue problems (power outage, bathrooms out of order)
  4. Public transport delays
  5. Main speaker doesn’t arrive on time
  6. Advertised or keynote speaker cancels
  7. Significant attendees drop out last minute
  8. Run out of food or drink
  9. Food does not meet expectations
  10. Technology failure (broken laptop or microphones)
  11. Poor wi-fi connection
  12. Not enough power cords or incorrect cables
  13. Not enough seating or event space
  14. Presentation documents forgotten or incorrectly shared
  15. Presentation is poorly received by guests
  16. The stage isn't set up correctly for specific presentations
  17. Speakers go well over allotted time
  18. Long queues (for water, bathrooms, or event registration)
  19. Event sponsors unhappy with guest turn-out or discussion topics
  20. No one shows up.


Successful Event Planning Tips and Tricks

There are so many things to consider when planning your event. Even with the best forward planning, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can help to make any event run smoothly. Whether you’re planning a work conference, charity event, product launch, large business meeting, or speaking event, each of these event planning tips are relevant.


Use clear storage containers

This sounds like such a minor detail, but this is one event planning hack that will make life easier on the day. You might know that the item the next speaker is frantically looking for is in the third box on the left under the table near the pot plant but, if you can’t leave the stage, valuable time will be lost while your assistants track down the correct storage box. Storing everything including your audio-visual equipment, power cables, guest notebooks and stationery all in clear tubs means everyone can quickly locate the items they need.


Get the food out early and often

Food and drink service, and easy access to water, can make or break an event. If your event is scheduled close to any expected meal time, or if guests have had to travel for over an hour to arrive at the event venue, make sure light refreshments are available immediately on arrival. You want a good supply of delicious food, and easy-to-eat snacks to fuel your event attendees. Having hungry guests with flagging energy levels is the quickest way to lose their attention. You also need to ensure food is served at the right times. Give the catering staff specific instructions about matching the presentation and meal schedules so food remains fresh and speakers are not interrupted. A good choice of snacks to suit a range of dietary requirements is essential when catering to a large group of people.


End on a high note

Plan your event program with well-spaced presentations. Schedule the speakers or presentations with the biggest wow factors immediately before any planned breaks and as the final program event. This will help generate discussion and create a high energy level to keep guests wanting more. People will most clearly remember the end of any event, and leaving on a high helps create a good guest experience. Saving the best for last also makes it easier to generate post-event interest with a well-timed follow-up.


Cater Your Event With Gourmet Hampers

Food catering for a business event or large meeting is easy with our range of food hampers. Our gourmet hamper delivery is suitable for everything from casual outdoor events to formal conference presentations. Food hampers offer a unique event concept with individual sweet or savoury snacks presented to each table or arranged around the room to encourage mingling.


Food hamper for an event


If you're looking for beautiful catering ideas or an easy way to entertain for a special event, then why not order a varied selection of our gourmet hampers. The most popular catering hampers for an event include the Ultimate Foodies Hamper and the affordable 'Entertainer' Gourmet Hamper. For each of our hampers, we've sourced a range of Australia’s finest nibbles from artisan producers to ensure the most flavour-filled catering solution.


Our food and wine hamper collection offers an ideal option for evening events. The Red Wine & Nibbles Hamper is perfect to share between a table of four to six guests. For variety, you could serve alternating tables or sweet and savoury nibbles along with red, white, and rosé wine to cater to all tastes. Make your next event a success with these easy event planning tips and mistakes to avoid. 


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