TRANSFORMING EVENT MISTAKES INTO TRIUMPHS
WE ALL MAKE MISSTEPS FROM TIME TO TIME. AT ITS CORE, EACH MISTAKE WE MAKE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH, TO IMPROVE OUR PROCESS AND OUR BEST PRACTICES. WE ASKED A FEW OF OUR MOST TRUSTED SOURCES FOR THE MOST ANNOYING GLITCHES THEY'VE EXPERIENCED AT RECENT EVENTS. THEN, WE OFFER SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR HOW TO AVOID THESE OR MAKE A COMEBACK FROM A SNAFU.
DON'T: SHUT DOWN THE BAR!
Over the holidays, a marketing executive we know attended a fundraising gala to benefit a local organization she supports. "We paid $200 each for these tickets, which included two drinks and about an hour into the event, the organizers closed the bar. It was infuriating." Not because they came there to drink but because they went to have fun and support a cause they believe in. Don't make a featured part of the event (food, drink, or entertainment) restricted from your guests--it won't go over well. When asked, she offered tactful feedback to the event coordinators when they expressed that they didn't raise the amount of money they expected. DO: KEEP THE BAR (OR BUFFET) OPEN TO GUESTS FOR THE WHOLE EVENT.
DON'T: HAVE THE PARTY ON TWO FLOORS
A pal of ours attended a company party last week held in a curiously vertical space. The food, drinks, and colleagues were spread among two floors. Essentially, it prevented everyone from interacting together and left him feeling like there was no unity. "The event was meant as a thank you for the crew and I didn't end up seeing half of my coworkers. The boss made the rounds, but still, it felt really disjointed." It's one thing when maybe you have different areas of the same space (i.e. indoor / outdoor areas) but try to keep it all on one floor, if possible. DO: KEEP EVERYONE AT THE PARTY TOGETHER IN ONE SPACE
DON'T: PANIC ABOUT TECHNICAL FAILS
We saw a little of this in Jimmy Fallon's recent Golden Globes hosting gig. He stumbled a little at first but recovered quickly--and then was delivered a new teleprompter and picked up right where he left off. Many a keynote speaker or emcee has found themselves facing stage fright. Technical problems from microphone blackouts to speaker issues can cause snafus when you're speaking or performing in public. Our best advice is to take a deep breath, smile, and do your best. DO: STAY CALM AND RIFF UNTIL HELP ARRIVES
DON'T: CUT CORNERS TO SAVE MONEY
We understand that money is often a limitation--almost everyone has a budget for their events. (In fact, we have a great free worksheet on how to get the most bang for your buck). You have so much to consider, so many things you want to do at your event and every dollar has to be accounted for. However, one thing we do not advocate for is cutting corners. In his insightful article, The Real Cost of A Bad Corporate Meeting or Event, Forbes.com contributor Josh Linkner details exactly why cost-cutting when done without a strong strategy is such a pitfall. Resources must match the desired result and when they don't, Linkner says, “A dollar saved may actually be $100 lost.” He compares two scenarios: one that costs marginally more but has better strategy and one that costs less but cut the budget by stretching already strained resources. The first scenario creates long-term income growth due to the far-reaching positive effect it created. The second saves hundreds of thousands of dollars but fails to meet the mark, and consequently has some larger, big picture negative consequences. DO: CONSIDER BOTH SMALL AND LARGE SCALE GOALS WHEN YOU GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR BUDGET.
DON'T: SEND AWAY GUESTS SHOW UP WHO DIDN'T RSVP
It seems pretty basic. Get invited somewhere, répondez s'il vous plaît. Etiquette maven Emily Post has plenty to say on the subject since it is one of the most common event faux pas. She recommends a tactful approach when dealing with people who forget. Before the event, when trying to round up the stragglers, send a polite email following up in case it just slipped their mind. Assume the best, prepare for the worst. (The worst here being they might not RSVP at all and show up at your event anyway). Post says sometimes people feel guilty when they neglect to be thoughtful about an RSVP and that shame might lead them to delay even more. Considering that this was the number one complaint from recent events for the people who shared their stories with us, it seems it happens more often than not. So, have a game plan for the inevitable and up your count for your caterer by a few. Worst case scenario, you'll have leftovers for lunch the next few days. DO: HAVE A FEW EXTRA PLACE SETTINGS FOR GUESTS WHO FORGOT THEIR ETIQUETTE
FINDING WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BALANCE WHEN THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED IS REALLY ESSENTIAL. WE DON'T WANT YOU TO FEEL LIKE THIS:
WE'LL CONTINUE TO HELP YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO NAVIGATE EVENT DIFFICULTIES, WHATEVER THEY MAY BE. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU AND WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.