You’ve planned your company’s year-end event down to every last detail, and you’re sure it is going to be spectacular. You’re feeling excited and proud. And then, this happens…

  1. You forgot to invite an important client

It’s the day before the event when you realise you forgot to send an invitation to one of your most important clients. You break out in a cold sweat.

Obviously this is a situation you want to avoid, so it’s important to have a system in place to vet and check guest lists before sending out invitations.

However, if someone has slipped through your planning, it is never too late to reach out to them. Pick up the phone and apologise, explaining that you’ve just picked up this error and are horrified. Hopefully they will be able to attend at short notice, and in which case make sure you send them an invitation with all the details pronto and make a special effort to make them feel welcome at the event.

If they are unable to attend, perhaps send them a gift by way of apology. Either deliver it in person or with a handwritten note, so they know they are valued. And then make sure it never happens ever again!

  1. Drunk and disorderly

The open bar has been a hit. So much that Harold has smashed some glasses, insulted a few of his colleagues, and needs to be escorted home. You didn’t really want to spend your year-end party doing damage control, and yet here you are…

The best way to prevent this from happening is to make it hard for people to over-indulge. A few ways to do this include:

  • Have a limit on the open bar, don’t serve spirits, and/or give staff a set number of drinks coupons for the event
  • Serve lots of food and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Ensure management leads by example
  • Invite partners to the event (this seems to ensure better behaviour)

If you are serving alcohol, another good idea is to arrange transport for your guests so that no one is driving home drunk, which could result in a far more serious disaster.

  1. Inappropriate attire

One of your staff has rocked up in an incredibly revealing outfit and is flashing everyone.

The best way to avoid this is to have a clear company dress code which is enforced and modelled by management throughout the year. You can also include a dress code on the event invitations to help your staff know what is expected.

If you are concerned about someone who has erred like this in the past, perhaps pull them aside for a private chat. You’ll need to be very tactful as this can be a sensitive topic, so plan what you want to say and keep the conversation professional and not personal.

  1. Bad entertainment

You’re excited about the new comedian you’ve booked, but quickly your excitement fades into alarm. He’s been briefed about your industry and clearly took this as a green light to start ripping into it, and some of the big players in it – who are your most valued clients. The smile dies on your face as you feel your boss glaring at you from across the room.

Booking any form of entertainment that you have not seen before is a gamble, so always ask for examples of an artist’s work. Many performers can share video clips and client referrals who you can then speak to. In the case of comedians, it might also be a good idea to meet them before booking them, to discuss what you are and aren’t comfortable with. They should be able to tell you if they can meet your expectations or if they’re not suited to the job.

  1. Speeches gone wrong

Your boss gives terrible speeches, but this year she has outdone herself and has decided to include a joke that isn’t in good taste. You cringe and avoid eye contact with your colleagues.

Unfortunately there is not much you can do once a speech is underway, so your best approach is to ask to go over a speech with someone before the event. You can frame this as wanting to check they haven’t forgotten any thanks or important mentions, and then use the opportunity to try and spot any potential landmines.

Regardless of what could go wrong, remember that these are just glitches and they won’t ruin the entire event. And don’t forget to enjoy it!

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