The task of organising a corporate event takes an enormous amount of time, costs a ton of money and introduces a plethora of potential pitfalls. Today, I’d like to cover common mistakes companies face when planning a corporate event for the first time. Hopefully, pointing out some of these potential problems can help to alleviate issues for those planning to organise one in the future.

Sound investment vs. just another task to-do

In many cases, an event is NOT right for your company. Some companies simply don’t encourage their staff to spend time thinking about why they’re organising an event in the first place, which are the most important elements and what will make the event a success & worthwhile investment?

Don’t be the startup that has a launch party before their website is live, run an experiential marketing campaign that gets no coverage or be the company that organises a team building day for commission-based sales staff – who just want to be at their desks selling.

Spend time thinking about, and thoroughly planning the brief. In some instances, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s just not wise to organise the event. Instead, present your findings to the decision makers with alternative solutions, such as other ways to motivate staff or more effective tactics to communicate with clients & customers.

“It’s the company’s cash – not mine”

Unlike with personal events, a major problem for companies planning events is that the money doesn’t belong to the person spending it. In most cases this person isn’t even responsible for the event budget. Which means, unlike the bride who knows where every penny is, challenged each option several times and negotiated all aspect of the event – there, understandably, is not the same level of care & attention.

If you’re delegating the task of organising an event to someone else MAKE THEM CARE by passing on some of the responsibility – making them accountable for areas of the event. For those expected to organise the event on top of their existing job, look at putting an incentive in place for delivering an event that achieves your event’s SMART objectives. Also, encourage your organiser to report any significant savings made.

A chain of decision makers

Organising events by committee or through layers of decision makers, interfere with the event’s quality and wastes huge amounts of time. Choose somebody you trust to head-up the project, allowing them to have the final say – to avoid any ugly struggles.

Misunderstanding guests

Every decision that is made should only be finalised when you’ve considered – is this the right option for the guests? Events are about engaging with the people attending. If guests leave unhappy, you’ve failed! However this mistake happens time and time again, where other factors impact on important choices, such as the decision makers swayed by budget, the organiser by creativity or selecting event companies, suppliers and venues purely down to ease.

Creating a corporate environment, rather than a social one

Events can’t be too impersonal or corporate-babble-y. The best corporate events communicate their values, personality and messages through the choices made rather than crafting a 4D version of the company brochure or business plan.

Events connect with guests through great content, a sound concept in a suitable environment – that’s basically the secret behind event planning. So if you want to call it an event, make it an experience that has the power to connect and engage with guests.

Not part of an integrated communications campaign

A great number of corporate events start and finish on the same day – and that’s it. Of course, these events are soon forgotten, therefore failing. Events should never be seen as a stand-alone tactic, but integrated with other parts of the business and activities.

If you’ve got any additional points, experience in providing services or attending a corporate event gone wrong, I’d love to hear about it – please do share.


Michael Chidzey is the chief juicer of eventjuice and runs Event Organiser, an event company based in London, UK. He also founded the digital marketing agency Good Signals, blogs on several websites and is a visiting lecturer in events management at London Metropolitan University.Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelchidzey
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