5 Most Common Mistakes in Live Event Management

Industry Watch | May 9, 2017 | Guest Article

InfoComm International DynaMix Media

Many seasoned live event managers will tell you that they learned their most difficult career lessons the hard way.

In planning and coordinating events, many of us fall prey to similar mistakes, some of which come with a higher cost than others. 

The good news is that there is another way to learn than through time and experience. By becoming aware of what pitfalls to avoid, you start to focus on taking the necessary steps for making the right decisions for a successful event and a rewarding career.

Here are five of the most common mistakes I have seen in live event management.

1. The copy-and-paste planning approach

When assessing client requirements, some AV practitioners often try to match it with a previous event they have worked on. Instead of taking the time to thoroughly investigate and assess the demands of a given project, they plan only by following similar scenarios.

Unfortunately, no two events are exactly the same. These detrimental variations can be in the available equipment, the dynamics of the space, and most importantly, the people.

Regardless of whether it’s setting up a conference, a product launch, or a simple training, taking this shortcut may look like a timesaver at one point but can lead to all kinds of problems.

2. Ignoring the relationship between space, content and technology

Great AV experience is the result of three main ingredients: space, content, and technology. Only when all three are taken care of can you promise a flawless event.

Technical companies tend to emphasize the technology part without appreciating the space and the content. On the other hand, non-technical event managers may invest in the best content for the space but forget about the importance of the right equipment.

Many of us have experienced this: A beautifully made video is displayed on an LED screen in a gorgeous event hall. The only problem? The video content is shot in HD and the LED is 4:3. All the good work on the content and the space is now completely lost on the screen with the disappointing upper and lower black bands.

3. No plan B

We AV people can be a confident bunch—maybe a bit too trusting on our own delivery capability at times.

Even when you’re working with the best equipment and have taken precaution, there is always a chance for things to break during handling or transport. Most companies now know the merits of back-up gear.

However, sometimes you just can’t bring an extra for everything. Without formulating a plan to anticipate and prepare for these undesirable scenarios means you can’t act quickly when something happens.

As they say, life is full of surprises. Expect the unexpected.

4. Planning in silos

Unwanted surprises are bound to occur if you don’t communicate with the other services providers for the event.

In India, it’s very common that one company is charged with the sound system, another one with imaging and displays, a third one with video coverage, and a fourth with IT and video conferencing. There are many opportunities for disaster to strike if these groups don’t clearly communicate early in advance.

Close coordination in the first place can prevent the unnecessary finger pointing and stress.

5. Taking safety lightly

In the race to meet deadlines, some event planners skimp on their most important responsibilities: the safety of workers and safe handling of equipment.

In India, safe practices in live events are often not strictly enforced as a routine. You can only minimize the risks by rigorously following a safety checklist for every step from transportation and loading to dismantling and packing.

In live events, many errors may be irreversible as you only have one shot to get it right. When it comes to safety, even the smallest mistake are not only irreversible, but also carry such serious consequences that no one can afford to neglect.

About the Author

T.S. Gopalakrishnan, CTS®-I, CTS-D, is an instructor for InfoComm International® programs including the Project Management for Live Events—a three-day course designed for live event professionals to learn the most critical field-tested project management principles. Two Project Management for Live Events sessions are scheduled for Hyderabad for May 27 to 29 and Mumbai for July 14 to 16.

Gopalakrishnan teaches a variety of AV training courses across India and the Middle East. A 21-year industry veteran, Gopalakrishnan is currently an AV consultant with DynaMix Media in Delhi.

T.S. Gopalakrishnan, an instructor for InfoComm International and an AV consultant with DynaMix Media, highlights mistakes frequently made in Live Event Management, that can be easily avoided.

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