The perils of event planning
By Phillip Gerrish, 21 November 2012 –
"First, nobody turns up. And just when I think the nightmare couldn't get any worse, it does. One person turns up... and nobody else all night long."
Planning an event can be nail-biting. We have planned loads, and haven't had a disaster for many years (at this point, we touch wood) but we often hear about people's worst event planning nightmares. We wanted to share some of these to reassure you. Hiccups are part of the process. If everything went swimmingly, we'd be worried. It's how you deal with the problems that matters.
Common fears debunked:
- "Nobody will come" – if you didn't have an audience, you wouldn't be planning an event. The best way to handle this worry is to request that people RSVP. And follow up your invites.
- "Too many people will come" – we've heard this one, too. People worry about 'not having enough'. The only way to get around this is to be well prepared. Have a contingency plan and keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to resources. Ration them out if needs be.
- "They'll get bored" – of course, you want your attendees to find your event enjoyable. But it's not about bells and whistles. Be honest with yourself – what's the best you can do? Not everyone can afford the most exciting, high-profile speakers, or most popular entertainment. With a little bit of creativity, you can make your experience and talents interesting!
- "I'll run out of cash" – the answer to this one is simply that you need to budget well. There's no real trick to it or shortcut you can take (unless you can find a magic money pot) – be realistic about what you can spend, over-estimate and leave some funds available.
- "It's not what they'll be expecting" – again, there is no secret answer to this. Just be honest about what you'll be delivering. Even a little bit humble, so you can exceed expectations. It sounds obvious, but we've seen people promise the world and end up disappointing attendees.
Fail to prepare, prepare to...
Yep, fail. If that common saying panics you, you're not prepared. But if you can say that you have put the hours in and planned everything out, it's time to relax. You can't do any more than that, so don't worry yourself sick. Remember, nerves are a good thing and can be handled positively, while fear or anxiety is generally a sign that you know, deep down, that you haven't prepared enough.