Top Ten Logistical Mistakes That Ruin Your Event
10. Parking is distant, nonexistent and/or not explained on the invitation or confirmation. People are more forgiving when they know what to expect. If parking isn't included in the price of the event and will cost them $15 and the garage only takes credit cards and closes at 9 pm, explain in advance!
9. No directional signage on-site. The event is on the 33rd floor but you didn't put up signs in the lobby or in the elevators. The attendee can't use the building directory because they don't remember what law firm is hosting it. They give up and go home. Remember, there is no such thing as too much signage!
8. The registration desk is a mess. The registrars left three half-filled coffee cups and a couple of half-eaten muffins front and center, but where is your name badge? Remember to alphabetize the badges by last name, keep the area clean and have alert and helpful staff ready to accommodate walk-ins, mis-spelled names and other calamities. Put a sign on the desk stating the name of the conference so attendees know they're in the right place.
7. No wastebasket at the registration desk. Now everyone will put their crumpled badge backs, discarded brochures and gum wrappers right there with your coffee cups and scattered badges. Not a way to make a good impression.
6. Name badges are less than perfect. Unless an event is extremely casual, don't use stick-on, write-em-yourself badges. Print them in advance and use large type. Make first names at least 48 pt type, and other information at least 36 pt. type. Don't use fancy fonts. Ariel Bold is my favorite; Times New Roman Bold is OK too. SPELL ALL NAMES CORRECTLY. Proof them at least twice.
5. No agenda anywhere. People want to know what's happening and when, even if it is a performance (in which case it's called a Program) or a social event. Display the agenda in one of several ways: have it on a PowerPoint slide as you walk in the room; have it on a foam core sign by the reg desk and again in the room; print it on paper and have these placed on each seat or table. Use half-sheets if it will fit; save the planet.
4. Physical needs of attendees are ignored. Restrooms should be close by, there should be enough chairs, there should be coffee if it's a morning meeting; water if the day is hot. Know how the lights and heat work, you may have to turn the dial yourself. For a buffet, make sure the caterer lays out the food in such a way that a long line won't snake its way into the lobby, delaying the start of the program.
3. No reminder was sent. No wonder half the people didn't show up -- they forgot! Email, Twitter, Facebook, BizNik reminders should be sent a week and again two days before the event.
2. Speaker or entertainment is late. Look at items 10 and 9 above. Expectations such as arrival time, payment (if any), a/v support, content of speech, how Q & A will be handled should be written down and agreed to well in advance. Get the speaker's cell phone number and make sure she has yours.
1. The devil takes over the A/V system. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If the cable, laptop, projector or other technical aspect ruins a presentation, it will be talked about for months to come. If a speaker brings a presentation on a stick drive and it is a newer version of PowerPoint than the version loaded onto the laptop, you could be in a world of hurt. There are so many things that can go wrong with A/V, hiring a technician is good insurance at twice the price.
Control the Top Ten Logistical Mistakes so your attendees will talk about your speaker, not the distractions.