The Worst Advice EVER About Event Production

Event production is perhaps the biggest beast in the business. It can make or break your event and entice or deter your past, present and future audience members. Let’s take a quick look at some of the worst advice that you could ever hear about event production.1) Let’s focus on the big picture; the details will take care of themselves.

CC Image by Jayel Aheram
CC Image by Jayel Aheram

Wrong – the details are the key to your event’s success. Details are important no matter how much time you have to plan your event. Make a list of details! All of those details matter (even the little ones that you think might be insignificant) because everything related to your event is important. The program content, the lighting, the accessibility, the reception area, even the coffee and cookies for your reception: these all matter! Your list of details will help you avoid overlooking things and keep the production process running smoothly.

While we’re on the topic of planning and details, it’s important to answer a few key questions about the goals of your event. Are you hoping to create a broader awareness for your company or studio? Are you holding a fundraiser for a great cause? Or are you simply looking to make money?  Most importantly, who do you want to fill the seats at your event? These are all extremely important questions that need to be answered so that you can focus your event production planning and fine-tune your detailed list to better serve your goals and target audience.

2) If we produce a show, then the people will come.

Not necessarily. In a world where almost everyone is perpetually over-scheduled, it is imperative that you market your event effectively. Why should your target audience spend some of their rare free time at your event? Your planning stages must include an effective and realistic marketing strategy to fill those seats. Why should people show up to your event? Better yet, why should they purchase a ticket? It is not enough to assume that people will subconsciously understand the value of your event. Spell it out in writing within your promotional materials and create these materials with the concept of easy sharing in mind.

CC Image by Connie Ma
CC Image by Connie Ma

Live pre-events have proven to be a successful and effective way to promote a variety of events. Talk to your performers to see if a flash-mob or short showcase performance is a viable option and seek out opportunities that offer the strong potential to reach your target audience. These types of pre-events are a great way to get people talking about the main event, but make sure that you have promotional materials handy to distribute afterwards. If live pre-events aren’t an option, social media networks also offer successful and cost-effective advertising opportunities that are often overlooked by smaller companies and performing arts organizations. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter provide in-depth targeting options that will help you reach your target audience within your specific geographical location.

3) I am a highly organized and efficient person so I can handle the event production on my own.

Have you noticed that there is no “I” in team? Please (for everyone’s sake) bring in your A-Team. There is no better and more assured way to achieve your goals than by working with the people whom you trust. Delegate the responsibilities associated with your event production and, if at all possible, allow your A-Team to take control of the areas that they enjoy most. Do you have a tweetaholic on your team? Assign them to social media. What about the foodie? Let them take care of the beverages and snacks being provided at the event. The fact is that people are more likely to complete tasks successfully if they enjoy what they are doing!

CC Image by Richard foster
CC Image by Richard foster

4) Know that things are bound to go wrong during the event and deal with them as they arise.

This is probably not the worst advice out there, but we think that there are better alternatives to the laissez-faire attitude that this implies.  If you’re working in event production, you already know that anything can happen. You should be prepared and ready to think on your feet, but why not be pro-active? Most problems occur from the little things that have fallen through the cracks during the planning stages of event production. Try to preemptively seek out these potential problems by imagining the event and looking for those trouble spots. By looking for the trouble spots, you can devise some trouble-shooting plans in advance of the actual event. These plans could end up “saving your bacon”, or at least making the live event less stressful for you and your production team.

Remember, when it comes to event production: plan for the best, expect the worst and, most importantly, always keep your goal of creating a top notch event in the foreground of your mind.

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