Shockingly bad events

And what you can learn from them!

We’ve all been to at least one badly organized event-if not many!

While most of my writing focuses on making great events, I wanted to take some time to talk about crappy events. The worst events. How they leave us feeling and deciphering exactly what went wrong. While this may sound like a negative article, it’s quite the opposite. By exploring elements that make up a “bad” event, we will learn what areas as an organizer that we need to focus on to create ambiance and enjoyment our attendees yearn for!

One way to envision a great event vs a shockingly bad event is to create anti goals. For example, my event anti goals include: bad lighting, very few attendees, grumpy vendors and staff, overall disorganization, not enjoying my event and running around stressed out!

Other elements of shockingly bad events are as follows:

Sometimes this involves a great event that is just way to crowded that your customers find it stressful to navigate. Think that crowded Christmas bazaar where you cant get near a table or that busy music festival with the longest lines for dirty porta potties! Lets dive right into the key elements that contribute to a shockingly bad event!

Bad crowd control: As an organizer, it’s your job to make sure your event is well spaced out and thoughtfully planned for the enjoyment of customers. When I put on trade shows and craft fairs, my rule of thumb was an absolute minimum 6 feet isle spaces. More is better! Once your event is busy, you will need ample room for strollers and wheel chairs and everyone to get by! Does your event have a capacity limit? My other articles talk about the importance of choosing a venue with a capacity that will work for your size event. However if your event is a trade show, come and go style, the capacity will naturally come and go, depending on what time customers arrive .Are you selling tickets in advance? If you sell out, can you do 2 times (5-7pm and 7-9pm for example)?

Takeaway strategy: If you are planning a seated event, think about your layout-does everyone have a good view or good access to food, audio visual etc? No matter the nature of your event, ask yourself what you can do for crowd control.

Bad lighting: There is nothing worse than the subliminal effect brought on by bad lighting! I’ve seen this time and time again with events that take place in gymnasiums or rooms with bad natural light.

Takeaway strategy: What can you do to make lighting better? Can you add string lights or bunting to bring down the effect of a high roof? Can you dim the lights and ask all vendors to bring their own table lamps and lighting? My favourite venues have involved rooms with natural light, oozing in history. However if your budget doesn’t allow for such a space, get creative!

Flat staff: What exactly does that mean? Several things; staff that are not dressed in the theme of the event or just have no personality. The first impression of your event is so important.

Takeaway strategy: Bring in key staff that have that natural ability to smile and greet your guests. This will help everyone ease into your event, feeling welcome and wanted!

No vibe: I sum no vibe up as an event that was advertised in a certain way, but when you arrive, it’s just not what you expected. Perhaps it’s a coctail of offences-bad lighting, bad or no music, lack of understanding of what to do or where to go.

Takeaway strategy: Review your event idea/marketing materials. How are you encorporating these ideas into the actual event so attendees have their expectations met or exceeded?

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