The simplest event-planning mistake to avoid is also the most obvious, yet people make it time and time again. Many planners fail to start the event-planning process by thinking about the type of event they’re planning—or why they’re hosting it at all.
It’s exciting to dive into brainstorming and ideation, but identifying the type and purpose of the event is a necessary precursor. The end goal will inform and guide the rest of your planning process.
For example, are you planning a one-time or recurring event?
If you are planning a one-time event, then you’ll need to actively get the word out far in advance through multiple channels to ensure a good turnout. You’ll also need to provide adequate follow-up communication with attendees to keep them informed of event details and expectations (regarding food, attire, etc.). If the event is recurring and already has a consistent attendee base, then as frequent of communication isn’t required.
I recently attended a one-time event. After registering, I didn’t hear anything from the event host, even on the day of! As an attendee, I started to wonder if the event was still happening. I also didn’t have a good sense of what to wear or if food was provided. And once I arrived at the venue, I didn’t know which room to go to.
These are not the kind of thoughts you want running through your attendee’s heads. You want them to look forward to the event, not be confused. Your event is an experience, and it is your job to ensure that experience is a positive one by making your attendees feel informed, welcomed, and prepared for the event.
The type of your event will determine:
- What venue is best suited to meet your event goals
- How early you need to begin advertising
- How heavily you need to advertise
- How you communicate with attendees, regarding both content and frequency
- What expectations to set for attendees
- And more!
All this may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how often the simple step of clarifying the type of event you’re planning—and its purpose—can be overlooked. And it matters because the priorities and necessary steps to plan a weekly networking event will be much different than creating a large, year-end gala.
By knowing up front the type of event you’re planning, every step of the planning process will be strategic and thoughtful. You’ll have peace of mind as you create a meaningful and memorable experience for all who attend!