5 More-Common-Than-You-Think Meeting Planning Mistakes

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It’s ok…Everyone makes mistakes!

Even seasoned meeting planners can get caught off guard. Here are 5 meeting planning mistakes that are more common than you think.

Avoid these simple but easy to overlook meeting planning mistakes:

“Where’s my session?”

Nothing is more frustrating for attendees than being confused about where the next presentation is being held. Avoid this by making sure you display adequate signage that is easy to read and understand, says The Balance blog. It’s better to go overboard and have too much signage than risk attendees being lost and continually asking for directions. 

Hire the right people—and enough of them

It seems fairly obvious that proper event staffing is critical, yet improperly allocating resources tops the list of most common event management mistakes, according to the Institute of Event Management. The key to a successful event is getting the right people with the right skills. A thorough assessment of all resources at the outset of the planning process can provide visibility into everyone’s skills and workloads. Once you know everyone’s capabilities and who’s doing what, it becomes far easier to allocate resources.

Track changes

As the Propared blog (Propared is a  cloud-based logistics platform) describes it, the meeting owner probably doesn’t care that you changed the lighting crew call time but if a vendor has an old version of a schedule with the wrong address, everything could go south in a hurry. Planners generate mountains of paperwork and endless email threads by making so many changes, so consider a smart, change-tracking system that tracks and allows you to push updated information via notification, SMS or email to targeted people in your database.

Where’s the Wi-Fi?

Never rely on cell towers or standard hotel Wi-Fi to carry the load for your whole event, warns the Planning Pod blog. Don’t try to save money and skimp on Wi-Fi coverage if you know your attendees are going to be relying on it to stay connected and participate at the event. Instead, include dedicated event Wi-Fi coverage as a line item in your initial budget and explain to your internal or external client the importance of dedicated Wi-Fi.

Have a Plan B—on steroids

Don’t just expect things to go wrong in the days and hours leading up to your event, expect them to go badly during your event, warns The Balance blog. For example, what if your registration system malfunctions on the day of the event? What if you run out of food because extra people show up? What if your keynote speaker doesn’t show up or arrives late? The list goes on, so make sure you address each possibility beforehand and have a contingency plan in place..

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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