Event coordinator was charted the 5th most stressful job in the world, according to 2017 research by CareerCast.com. (In fact, we’ve spoken about it before – read Event work stress: 4 ways to manage it better.) This is in a large part due to the many challenges you need to juggle and deal with to successfully execute an event – all of which can be highly variable from one event to another.
Having said that, there are a few common event challenges that crop up time and time again. Like these five.
- Limited budgets – for a big vision
A limited budget isn’t a problem on its own; it simply becomes a problem when the expectations and requests that are attached to it are not limited.
This is where managing your client’s expectations is a master skill you will need. Your job is to help them understand what their budget is capable of, and based on that establish where they are willing to compromise. Can they afford to increase the budget a little? You can help propose ways to do this, for example through sponsorship packages. Or perhaps they are willing to forgo the ice sculptures and caviar to stay within the original budget.
Of course, it’s still your job to find creative solutions and affordable suppliers to bring their vision to life within budget. And while this is hard, it is not impossible:
- Consider using an unusual venue, which can cut your costs and add interest to the occasion.
- Look into purchasing items that you can keep and re-use after the event.
- Look for another suitable event that you could piggy back off. Partnering up like this allows both events to save on various costs (such as splitting the venue fee), and if done well can also be a way to boost attendance to each other’s events too.
- Focus on quality over quantity. In other words, don’t try to do a huge number of things with a small budget. The result of stretching your budget like this will most likely be lots of mediocre elements. Rather trim away the unnecessary requests to focus on one or two things that are very important, and which you can then do extremely well.
- Tech that doesn’t work
Technology is capable of so much, including transforming a good event into an amazing one. However this is only true as long as it is working. Broken or ineffective technology is always a far more frustrating and disappointing experience than not having it in the first place.
Online ticket platforms are really convenient and help boost ticket sales, but if they don’t work you will lose potential customers. Apps can streamline an event experience beautifully, but if they are not working your attendees could miss out on the parts of the programme they came for – which will sorely disappoint them. And WiFi that doesn’t work will frustrate attendees who expect it, and most likely need to be able to check their emails and stay connected to their work even while attending your event. (Read 6 steps to Wi-Fi bliss to help you overcome this particular challenge.)
What this means is that you need to choose your suppliers wisely, brief them properly, and ensure you listen to them and their concerns too – so that any issues raised are dealt with appropriately and timeously. If you are well prepared in this manner, all of your tech should work smoothly when you need it to.
- Use the right suppliers
How your suppliers perform, unfortunately, is often considered a reflection of your event. If the food is terrible, or the entertainment disappointing, or perhaps the stand builders are not ready for the exhibitors to set-up – all of these things can taint your event’s image. And as much as you are within your rights to be angry at a supplier who doesn’t deliver, at the end of the day you must source and manage your suppliers, so some of the responsibility of their performance does rest with you.
This is why building up your own preferred network of suppliers you can trust and work well with is invaluable. Unfortunately this can only be done over time, and through trial and error.
However, even when you do have your own preferred suppliers, your client could still request that you use someone else. It is important to be flexible enough to consider this, and do your best to accommodate them. Make sure you get everything in writing, as to what the deliverables and expectations are for all parties, to avoid any problems down the line.
- Managing multiple events
Organising concurrent events is no joke, and yet it is likely to happen at times in your career as this is the nature of eventing. Funnily enough, this is easier to do when the events are very dissimilar – as the differences will help you to separate the events in your mind. The more similar they are, the greater the risk you could confuse them at times.
The key here is to be even more organised with your time management, prioritising, check lists and attention to detail. Other simple yet effective strategies to help you not confuse events include using colour coded folders and having different cell phones.
- Making it memorable
Every client wants their event to be memorable; better than the competition, or course, and always needing a “wow factor” that people will keep talking about for ages. This is no small request, but it is also one that you as an event organiser want to deliver, as your reputation can be built on being able to do just this.
There is no formula to creating magical events – in fact that flies in the face of the very idea. Instead what you need is to be able to think outside the box. It can help to look around at what others have done, but then you need to consider what hasn’t yet been done, or ways you could mix and match ideas in an interesting way.
Always try to remove any limitations during your brainstorming session. Only once you have a lot of raw ideas should you start working through them to see which have potential. Keep a mind-set of “How can I make this work?” rather than “Why might this not work?”, as this is how truly bold new ideas can be born.