by Paul Harris CTS bbBlanc Audiovisual/Entertainment
Paul Harris is an Audio Visual Sales specialist with bbBlanc, Toronto’s fastest-growing event staging company. His 25 years in the industry include experience in special events, installed systems and home automation. Paul is an award-winning lighting designer and Certified Technology Specialist (Infocomm).
There is a saying that everyone thinks they can sing, everyone thinks they can act and everyone thinks they can run a restaurant. There is an unfortunate fourth we can add to that. Far too many people think they can be their own meeting planner.
Unfortunately, we often see clients when it’s too late - after they have already had an event go terribly wrong. We prefer to talk to the client early and do what we can to help them understand the snares and pitfalls of trying to do what we do best. Here are just a few of the risks the DIY Meeting Planner faces:
If it goes right, everyone will claim credit. If it goes wrong, it’s all on you. No matter what kind of event it is, if things go wrong, it will reflect back on the person charged with organizing it. Unsuccessfully executing a mission-critical event can be a bad career move.
“It costs how much?!” One of the biggest DIY mistakes is underestimating the price of staging an event. Nasty financial surprises happen from simply not knowing what things cost. Best to have someone who does know right back at the budget stage.
Think of how much time it will take to make this event happen. Now double it. Amateurs invariably underestimate the time it takes to plan and execute an event, especially a large or multi-faceted one. And their regular job doesn’t stop while they’re working on the show. It’s a recipe for high stress andeven worse, important details falling between the cracks.
“Someone’s asking for the gluten-free vegan option.” You didn’t think of that, did you? There are so many details an untrained planner can’t be expected to know. We spend our careers learning those hundreds of details and anticipating every need. Instead of enjoying a successful day, the do-it yourselfer can spend the whole time putting out fires.
So, what’s your Plan B? The forecast is rain for your outdoor barbeque. Does the caterer own a tent? Do you know? Twice as many people have registered as the venue can hold. Do you have to move the event? How do you do that? The lamp in the company projector just blew. Is there a spare? Does somebody know how to replace it? The free DJ got a paying job the day before the event and can’t make it. Who can you get on short notice? This is reality. Things will always go wrong. The true test is what happens when they do. Professionals know how to keep the show going when challenges arise.
When it comes to making an event happen, you have one chance to get it right. You want people to be talking about it for a long time, and for all the right reasons. A successful occasion is a product of knowledge, experience and pre-planning. Why take risks? The peace of mind that comes from using a professional with these skills is worth paying for.