Oops! Developing a Mistake Protocol

Questions to ask yourself to stop future errors before they happen

Even the best planners make mistakes. When there is so much to plan, it’s easy to do. And though it might be embarrassing, mistakes are also a learning opportunity. In fact, some studies show that strong error management enhances leadership and career success and can even develop trust, specifically in the hospitality industry.

Admitting you’ve made a mistake or that your planning might not have been as cut and dry as it could have been isn’t particularly pleasant, but it will make you a better planner. Here we walk through common planning mistakes—and the questions to ask to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Mistake: Not allocating resources correctly.

Because event planning encompasses so many different areas—food and beverage, technology, setup and décor, and so on—it can be easy to slip up and expend too much energy, money and other resources on one area over another. More than that, you also need to make sure you’re using the people on your team in a way that best utilizes their skills. This means you need to strategically divvy up the work and delegate appropriately to meet your event purpose.

Questions to ask:

  • Do all planning decisions reflect the meeting purpose?
  • Are expenditures allocated appropriately based on the meeting purpose? 
  • Are the right people in charge of certain tasks?

Mistake: Not keeping record of event changes.

Changes can happen in the blink of an eye, and if you’re not tracking them correctly, you might miss key information that can be detrimental to your event. Strategize a way to organize pertinent information and update files to avoid overlooking any details—and don’t forget to back up said documents. Think about apps, such as the Meetings Services AppSimplenote or Evernote, that automatically update files no matter if you access them via mobile or on your laptop. 

Questions to ask:

  • What technology can I put in place that will help track event changes? 
  • Are all event details included in the tracking process?
  • Are all appropriate members of the planning team aware of changes? 

Mistake: Ignoring Murphy’s Law.

You know what they say: Anything that can go wrong, will—which means you must be prepared for anything. Sound overwhelming? It can be, which is why it’s important to get organized. Create a high-level timeline for your planning process, as well as the event itself, to ensure you complete your checklist and everything runs smoothly day-of. Make sure to also have a Plan B—just in case.

Questions to ask:

  • Do I have a detailed schedule rundown of all relevant events?
  • Do I know what to expect—and when—the day of the event?
  • Do I have the appropriate backups in place in case of emergency?

Mistake: Not following standard meeting management best practices.

The strategies that work for one planner might not work for another—but at the end of the day, you know which planning tactics will enable you to get your work done. So why would you stray from that? Stick to a process that makes you feel confident in your role while also achieving meeting goals. 

Questions to ask:

  • Does my planning process lend itself to an efficient workflow?
  • Is my process detailed enough?
  • Have I incorporated “lessons learned” from previous mistakes into my workflow?