Keeping It Real


When Planning an Event, Keep Expectations Realistic and Goals Achievable

As we reach out to our customers to learn more about how they plan and promote their events, we sometimes run into statements every event planner hopes to avoid.

What type of statements are we talking about? Well, some discontent includes not having a high enough turnout due to planning or promotional issues or having to cancel the event because of inclement weather or other unforeseen issues. Of course, everyone sets out to create an awesome event, but what should you do if an event just doesn’t seem to come together? This is when realistic expectations and realistic planning come into play.


Having realistic expectations an important, but overlooked part of event planning. Keeping things in perspective will help you manage the stresses of planning.  Planning realistically, on the other hand, means keeping your to-do list manageable. Breaking down the planning process into easily-digestible sections will also mitigate stress.

There are three things to remember when you’re working on keeping expectations level.

First, be clear about your goals. Make a list of what you want to achieve with your event, whether it’s raising funds, awarding certain individuals, or providing fun to the community.

Second, develop a strategy.  Outline the goals you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to achieve those goals (or at least come close to them). For instance, if you are aiming to attract 100 people to your event through your email or phone list, divide your email or phone list into small sections and check off each completed section every day until you’ve finished the task. If canvassing an area is also part of your promotional plan, use the same tactic of breaking down the area into smaller quadrants. This way, you and your group can split up and quickly cover the area.

Third, realize that not everything will go according to plan. Even though a tight plan is important, there will still be things that will fall through the cracks. The best thing to do is have a relaxed attitude. Bruce Lee said it best: “Don’t get set into one form. Adapt it and build your own and let it grow. Be like water.” In other words, go with the flow and have fun.

Some of our customers had instances during their events that they could have viewed with annoyance. Instead, they took a positive approach. Take for instance Valerie O’Riordan, the drama director at Archbishop Riordan High School. She wrote about how the school’s event, “Lucky ’13: A Labor of Love Alumni Revival,” didn’t have a sold-out crowd from a positive standpoint. “Although we didn’t sell out, the energy was electric and the theater was full of love and alumni,” she said.

Also, the organizers of the Montucky Derby wrote about the bad weather their event sustained, but how the crowd was still engaged. “The crowd loved it- even sat through wild thunderstorms.”

How do you manage expectations for your event? 


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