Whether you’re a first-time organiser or have dozens of events under your belt, getting into bad habits can happen at any time in your career. It might be that you’re under huge time pressures and cutting corners feels like the only way to stay on top of your workload. Or perhaps you’re not even aware that some of the things you do could have dire consequences in the long run. Either way, being aware of these five common event planning habits to avoid will hopefully help you to avoid any event planning mishaps in the future - and your events will be all the better for it.
Refusing to Delegate
Taking ownership of any project, particularly an event, is important for its success but this doesn’t mean that it’s down to one individual to take on every single job that needs doing. A good organiser will be able to recognise when they are both over and under-qualified for certain tasks – or when they simply don’t have the time.
Allocating jobs to the people in your team who are best qualified to carry them out means you don’t get bogged down in the time-consuming things beneath your pay grade, or that you start digging a hole by attempting to deal with things beyond your talents.
As an event organiser your job is to oversee the project in its entirety so an important event planning habit is delegating some of the workload so that you’ll have time to take a step back from the day-to-day admin so you can get a handle on the big picture.
Not Having a Contingency Fund
It would be lovely to think that being organised and keeping on top of your budget spreadsheet will mean that there is no chance of over-spending on your event. Unfortunately, there is always a risk that unexpected costs could pop up at any time along the planning journey - plus there’s a chance you could have underestimated how much certain aspects of your event might cost.
One of the best event planning habits to get into is giving yourself a contingency fund. Putting a set amount – perhaps 10% - of your budget to one side for such eventualities will give you peace of mind. If you end up with anything left in the pot, there will always be upgrades or extras you can spend it on at the 11th hour.
Ignoring Your Gut
Is there something about your event that for some reason just doesn’t feel right? Maybe a colleague has suggested entertainment that everyone else loved but you had your reservations? Or there’s a logistical challenge you aren’t convinced has been entirely solved?
If you feel uncomfortable about anything at your event, trust your instincts and make any changes you need so that it sits right with you. Trusting others is important as a manager, but if the buck stops with you and you can foresee a problem, don’t take the risk.
Not Exploring Other Suppliers
You might well have been using the same caterers, florists, entertainers and venue for years and they may well have delivered every time, but don’t be afraid to at least investigate other options. Hopefully you’ll realise that you’ve got it right and there’s no need to make any changes, but you also might discover that you’ve been missing out on some really fantastic companies who could bring new life to your event or perhaps save you some money. One of the best event planning habits you can get into is to keep your planning strategies and practices fresh and up to date.
Leaving Your Guests to Network
Presuming your guests will find their own time to network is a mistake. If you’re organising a conference or exhibition your guests will be taking the breaks in their schedule to enjoy some much-needed downtime, or to check in with the office or home. After content, making useful contacts is the second-ranked reason delegates attend events, so get into the habit of making it a priority.
A designated time with drinks and nibbles is a must. It will give your delegates a chance to prepare their favourite ‘chat up lines’, put their best feet forward and embrace the opportunity. A carefully curated networking event will always go down well with delegates, so don’t fall into the bad habit of leaving your delegates to their own devices.
Event Planning Support at The HAC
Whether you’re planning a conference, party, dinner, awards ceremony or wedding at The HAC you’ll have the expert help and guidance from our highly experienced Event Team. They know our beautiful, historic venue inside out and take great pride in creating lasting memories for all the right reasons. Give them a call on 020 7382 1533.