We’ve been event planners for many years now and every once in a while, we go to events ourselves. As event attendees, we have a really unique perspective, and it’s one that helps us up our planning game.
Here are some of the things we often notice at events that drive us crazy, and we’re sure they drive other attendees crazy as well:
- Not Enough Signage
One of the absolute worst first impressions an event attendee can have is not being able to navigate your event. Remember, from your attendee’s perspective, the event starts the moment she arrives at the venue. Can your attendee find the event from the parking lot or the public transportation drop-off points?
Also, once they have made their way inside and registered, where should they go? What should they do? Where can they sit? Where should they absolutely not sit?
Branded signage is such a simple way to help your attendees navigate your event and the venue. Think from their POV and recognize where they may need some direction. This is particularly essential if the venue is large and has a complex campus.
- An Agenda That Doesn’t Run on Time
Pet peeve number 2: When the content and overall event schedule significantly deviate from the agenda. Sure, life happens, and sometimes things can get off track. But as an event planner, the responsibility is on you to ensure you follow the agenda as closely as possible.
Be certain your session descriptions match the actual presentation being given. Add a countdown timer to your AV order to help those speakers who haven’t rehearsed nearly enough know when it’s time to wrap up. Essentially, think of all the things that could happen to throw your schedule off and mitigate those things out of the gate.
- An Overpacked Agenda
Equally frustrating is an agenda that is too jampacked. Your attendees require built-in breaks. And don’t be stingy with the breaks. Give your attendees enough time to stretch their legs, use the restroom, get a snack and check email.
- A Lack of Power Outlets and Patchy Wi-Fi
Many of your attendees will want the option of being able to get online during breaks so they can get some work done. Reliable Wi-Fi is a must. In addition, it’s important to have plenty of power outlets so attendees can charge their phones and laptops. Make sure there are comfortable and accessible areas where people can plug-in.
- Bad AV
And finally, one of the biggest turnoffs for attendees is to have bad audiovisual production or lighting at your event. Almost nothing will make your event look and sound more amateurish.
Be sure to leave plenty of time for sound and light checks. Test your video and all technology if you are hosting a hybrid event. We can’t stress built-in dress rehearsals enough. Your attendees will be royally p*ssed if they can’t hear speakers or can’t hear each other during a networking session because the music is playing too loudly. Do not treat your tech and production aspects as afterthoughts.
As event planners, it’s easy for us to get into habits and do the same things over and over. But doing so means risking missing what is really important to our attendees.
Think from your attendees’ perspective. Go to other events yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. Ask your attendees for honest feedback. When you do this, you are sure to avoid doing those things that drive attendees crazy.
Need help planning your next event? Just reach out to us!
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J.Shay Team is the generic alias for our event staff that want to submit work anonymously.