How To Avoid Event Planning Failures

Tony Robbins is known for his firewalk. Even Oprah has done it! 

But a few years ago, 30 people suffered 2nd and 3rd-degree burns while fire walking.

(Warning: Graphic Images)

It doesn’t happen often but, if you organize events, sooner or later you will encounter an embarrassing moment or an event planning failure. Fortunately, most event failures don’t involve permanent damage like Tony Robbins and his team experienced – just bruised egos.

No event is immune to unforeseen circumstances. And, there can be setbacks during all types of events ranging from conferences and business meetings to weddings and galas.

Decorations, tents and awnings fall; laptops crash; stand-up comics, speakers and panelists slur inappropriate or insulting comments.

The key is to be prepared and react accordingly (and appropriately!) when something does go wrong.

Lessons Learned From Event Planning Failures

It’s important to learn from all the events you plan.

And other event planners and their event planning fails!

Fireworks can add that WOW factor to your event, but what happens when they don’t go off as planned?

Or when a 250 person tent nearly comes down because of strong winds. This happened to me and I was literally hanging from the tent trying to hold it down! 

Or, what do you do when one of the waiter you hired spills a drink all over the guest of honor? 

It’s important to keep things in perspective and prepare for the worst case scenarios, so here are 7 tips to consider before you plan any event. 

7 Tips To Avoid Event Planning Failures

  1. Have a back up / emergency plan for every event.
  2. Ensure your whole team knows the back up plan, and include key clients too – if or when necessary.
  3. If you’re taking part or planning any high-risk activities (i.e. extreme sports), make sure emergency personnel (first-aid responders, police, ambulance, etc.) are on standby with contact information on hand.
  4. If something goes wrong, begin damage control right away! This could involve getting people out-of-the-way, administering medical aid or putting out fires (sometimes literally!).
  5. Don’t be defensive. Appoint a team member to deal with any media and clients.
  6. Conduct a post-mortem (term used for follow-up after each event. This should be done for all your events anyway) to uncover lessons learned.
  7. Apologize, repair damage and compensate if necessary. This could involve refunding all or part of a fee, giving refunds, issuing credits, paying to repair property damage, covering dry cleaning expenses, etc.

Have you experienced an event failure that taught you a valuable lesson? Share your experience in the comment below. 

Have a great week,

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