Event Management

20 Excuses Undermining Your Event Success

Skift Take

Are you your own worst enemy? If you use any of these excuses that could be the case. Here are the 20 most common excuses that undermine your business or event and how you can overcome them.

Excuses. Regardless of whether they are valid or not, in many cases they undermine your event or business progress. Excuses can hinder productivity, break apart teams, lose clients and respect and ruin your event. Here are some of the most common excuses and how to conquer them!

  1. It’s Not My Responsibility

Having this kind of attitude can cause disruption within a team and undermine a business as a whole. In the world of event planning just because something isn’t what you are officially supposed to be doing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get stuck in to find a solution if you need to. Sometimes it really comes down to “all hands on deck” to “save” the event. Whether this means taking on extra responsibility over and above your contracted responsibility or stepping up to support your peers or help your colleagues the important thing is to get the problem sorted out.

Using this excuse loses time, looks unprofessional, isolates members and can make them feel like they are pitted against each other rather than working together, reducing communication and productivity. Of course if this situation arises make sure to look at why it happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again with a debrief with your client, boss or team. First though get on with solving the issue if time is tight.   

  1. It Doesn’t Suit the Demographic


Getting locked into stereotypes can be the ultimate excuse that leads to failure. Millennials are the buzzword of the moment but is this actually just the best excuse for running bad events? If you keep using traditional stereotyping to determine what your business or event should do and cater for you will almost definitely miss the mark. Do your own marketing, conduct your own research and find out what your actual demographic wants or needs and let your audience and attendees tell you what they want themselves.

  1. I Am Not a Good Enough Event Planner

Your confidence can hold you back from being a super eventprof. Lack of confidence can halt business and planning progress dead in its tracks. Being confident is an important trait of successful event planners, people need to have faith in you, but most importantly you need to have faith in yourself. Identify anything that is zapping your confidence is an important first step. Look at everything you have achieved so far and believe in yourself. This should help to set you on the right track and build your confidence as you go.

  1. I Don’t Think That is Possible

How do you know until you try? Coming up with ideas and suggestions that might seem a bit far-fetched are a sign that you and your team are innovative so don’t shut them down straight away until you have tested their plausibility first. Event planners love a challenge! Events and businesses that pave the way need to learn to overcome obstacles and be the first to do things, don’t let the possibility of failure undermine you.

  1. It’s Not My Problem

OK, reality check. If something is going wrong at your event it IS your problem. Your boss, client, team and attendees should never ever hear these words. EVER.

  1. We Don’t Have the Budget


This is one of the most common excuses in business and is often used by managers to stop ideas they don’t like by using financing to justify it. In all honesty, budgeting can be tight and therefore some things just simply aren’t possible, however, in many cases there are DIY solutions or a cheaper way of achieving things that can be close to the real thing. Before you start using the budget as an excuse, try to discuss if there are any workarounds or cheaper alternatives that might make it possible. If you are pitching an idea then shop around and do this research first and also look at ways to save money from other parts of the event to fund the idea.

  1. They Won’t Like It

A fear of going too weird and wacky often comes up in an excuse like this but what it actually often means is: “I am afraid they won’t like it and I will look silly.” Ultimately you need to ask yourself, is it in keeping with the event or brand? Because if it still upholds the ideals and values of the company then you really don’t know until you try. If you are apprehensive about doing outlandish things on a large scale at first try with a small target group or get some feedback on the ideas before making this excuse to discard it. Otherwise you might be missing out on a successful idea.

  1. My Audience Don’t Want Anything Too Technical

It is an easy excuse to say that attendees don’t want tech but in reality is it sometimes the event planners that are fed up with event technology and use this as an excuse because of the additional time and work load that some tools bring. Technology can be a useful tool that sets you apart from competition, helps you to be more memorable to attendees and even helps to deliver your brand or message in unique ways, so you should always aim to incorporate it if there is a true need. That being said, deploy the perfect event technology that is a good fit for your event, is easy to use for attendees and user friendly.

  1. All The Good Ideas Have Already Been Done

Mental block can happen to the best of us but it doesn’t have to stop you from progress. If you are having a particularly uncreative day then opt to do more monotonous and structured tasks to give yourself a break from trying to get creative and come back to it later. Alternatively, try a brainstorm where you get specific and think of only one aspect at a time rather than the bigger picture because one of the main causes for lack of ideas is being overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities and options available. Try free writing anything that comes into your head on a piece of paper and this may help to free up your thoughts and relax your mind.

You might think that a certain event or business type has too much competition and that you won’t be able to get new ideas off the ground. While saturated markets can pose a problem, if you are bringing something new to the table you can ensure that you stand out for the right reasons. Aim to offer things that the competition doesn’t to create more value. Healthy competition can help you to strive for more and gives you a baseline to improve against.

  1. I Don’t Have Enough Experience

Chances are, if you have been given responsibility it is because someone has put trust in you and thinks you deserve it, so age is irrelevant. You can’t be too old for responsibility as you probably have a lot more experience than your juniors and responsibilities don’t have to translate to workload; delegate jobs and share the workload among your team and it will feel less overwhelming. If you are younger and have been given more responsibility, use this as an opportunity to prove yourself, rise up and get on the fast track for promotion or career progression. Those who shy away from too much responsibility and use this as an excuse won’t get on in the future and it can hinder career chances within the fast paced event industry. Rise to the challenge – you can do it!

  1. We Don’t Have the Time


The event industry is fast-paced and works to strict deadlines so another common excuse is a lack of time. While you can’t buy any more of it, you can use simple strategies to make more and organize what you are currently doing to free up some of your own. Those who really want to do things will find time to do them and therefore this shouldn’t be an excuse. Prioritize your workload, use your lunch break to be more productive and streamline time sucking tasks to get some more time on your hands and use it wisely. Here’s 25 borderline genius tactics to get things done which should get you started.

  1. It’s Too Risky


Whether it is your event, business or brand everyone is afraid of failure and the embarrassment if it doesn’t work out. However, this fear of failure can hold you back and stop you from pushing boundaries. If you ever find yourself using potential failure as an excuse, try flipping the coin and thinking: but what if it is a success? What if this event or business venture kick starts your life and you become a famous event planner or successful business, bringing a lot of recognition or making a lot of money? Wouldn’t you rather take a calculated risk for the potential benefits it could bring, than stand still and always be thinking “what if”?

What really is the worst that can happen?

  1. I Don’t Do Marketing

If you are in the event industry, regardless of your job role, you need to know a bit about marketing and promoting your event, as this is down to everyone. You might not be able to come up with catchy slogans or campaigns but you can use social media to your advantage, look at what other eventprofs are doing online and take tips, tricks and guidance from them. Part of event planning is knowing which marketing channels are the most successful for your demographic and the best way to get your event out there. Marketing starts from day one. Here’s 20 online marketing tips for events to help get you started.

  1. We Couldn’t Find a Diverse Speaker Line Up

An all white, all male panel just doesn’t cut it any more. Instead of making excuses we need to work harder to ensure that our speakers and performers are diverse and more accurately reflect our audience, whether that is in terms of gender, race, sexuality or disability.

  1. That’s Not What Our Attendees Want

Offering this excuse is a clever way to shoot down ideas that you don’t like yourself. How can you be sure that it isn’t want your attendees want? Have you thought about asking them? Event planners are divided when it comes to co-creation and involving attendees in the planning of the event with 58% convinced that attendees don’t want to be involved, however it is important to listen to what your audience are telling you to make better and more informed decisions for your event.

  1. I Can’t Decide, I’m Not Sure


Sometimes you don’t know where to start and effectively are frozen with indecision. It can be difficult to know the best course of action to take and so we make excuses and put off making the call. This is understandably tricky but consider that sometimes it is actually best to make a decision and get on with it, rather than procrastinating and doing nothing at all. Stop overthinking it. If you are really stuck between various competing options sometimes you just have to trust your instinct, take the plunge and go with your gut feeling, or you risk being left behind and wasting time.  

  1. We Don’t Need to Market Ourselves

There may come a point with a larger, established event or business that you feel like you have “made it” and the repeat attendees and clients just keep coming. If you ever feel like you can just sit back and relax though then this excuse will become your downfall. You may have met your quota of attendees or achieved your business financial targets, but that doesn’t mean marketing should stop. In fact you could argue it is more important to continue and build on the success.

Create a waiting list for your event and give it an element of exclusivity, the more who want to go but can’t get in, the better chance you have of getting a great turnout for years to come. Maybe you can increase the ticket fee and add more awesomeness to your event. Additionally, marketing helps to create a buzz for the attendees that have already bought tickets to get them excited and keep it in the forefront of their mind.

  1. I Can’t Do It On My Own


It can be a daunting task to plan or manage events on your own and even more scary to branch off and start a new business or go freelance. However, there are many benefits to going it alone that you should consider, so stop making excuses. Aside from the boost of confidence you will gain it is something that is entirely yours that you can take pride in. Still don’t believe us? Here are 20 reasons you should be planning events alone.

  1. Our Sponsors/Board/Clients/Attendees Don’t Like Change

It is ok to re-use ideas and give them new life, for example sponsorship is an old concept in the event industry but creative sponsorship ideas can set you apart from the rest. However if you are just doing the same thing again and again, it will not yield the same results and can put your stakeholders off because after all why would they come back and get involved if nothing has changed from the last event? Playing it safe can sometimes be rewarding but that doesn’t mean you should be repetitive because, believe us, that won’t end well.

  1. Our Guests Expect It


This is a dangerous reason to do something. It isn’t the best way to make business decisions and it is presuming that the familiar and tried and tested ways are the best. By using this excuse you are preventing finding better ways of doing things, innovating and pushing the boundaries. Be sure whether a decision is best for the event, your guests and the stakeholders or whether it is just the most convenient choice for you as the event planner.

How many times have you heard this:

“Our guests expect a free bar, so we have to provide it.”

In reality though how many of your guests would really miss this part of the event? How many would actually thank you if you took a different approach to alcohol at your events? If by not providing unlimited drinks the budget saved meant that you can incorporate a groundbreaking idea into the event what will really make a lasting impression on your participants?

In Conclusion

Now you shouldn’t have any excuses left to undermine your efforts and you should see some definite improvements in your progress. It is important to remember that sometimes things stand in your way but very rarely is there an obstacle without a way around, under or through it. Next time you have an excuse in your head, think about how you can overcome it before using it to halt your success.