We’ve all heard it before--the planning, stress and long days leading up to an event are rewarding in the end when the final puzzle piece falls in place and it all comes together. It’s a pretty great experience in itself, if you’re lucky enough to catch the happiness firsthand of the hosts and guests alike.
But there’s always the lingering "what if": What if the worst-case scenario happens on the day of the event? What if the guests and your clients aren’t satisfied with your work? What if your next event doesn’t go as smoothly?
As event industry pros, we’re used to this anxiety, especially post-event during that waiting period for feedback. Good or bad, you should always keep improvement at the forefront of your mind, whether it’s for damage control or maintaining your uphill momentum.
Here, event pros share their thoughts on how to gauge event success (or slip-ups) and how to turn these evaluations into tangible growth for future events.
Talk to your team.
Open communication with your team is crucial, and it’s one of the best forms of checks and balances after the event.
Ashley Stork, owner of Magnolia Vine Events, likes to check in with her team to get a feel from their perspective as to how they think the event went. “Did they see something they wish had gone differently? If so, what can we do next time to correct that?” she says, adding that she attributes the company’s success to using this feedback to develop their process over the years. “We meet the Thursday before events to review the time line and necessary information, which is a huge help. Post-event, I ask for feedback the next day.”
Tackle future obstacles before they happen.
If your team had a near-miss or a hiccup in your event, never assume that it was a one-time thing. Fixing the mistake and opening up a discussion on preventing future obstacles can never hurt.
Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events wants you to know that self-improvement is a must to remain competitive in the industry. “Evaluating our events helps us improve our overall performance and keeps us on point,” she says. “It can also head off future problems if our team knows what to look for in certain venues, with certain vendors, or otherwise.”
Don’t forget your successes.
It’s easy to pick apart what went wrong, but it’s just as important to discuss your successes. Congratulate yourself and your team on going the extra mile or putting in the effort to secure that last detail.
Paulette Alkire of Chalet View Lodge says, “Once we stop evaluating how we are doing and how we can improve, we stop moving forward and providing our clients with the best service possible. We also feel it is very important to see what is working and commend our employees on the great job that they are doing.”
Those positives outweigh the negatives in most cases, and it’s better for your sanity to realize that not every event is going to go off without a hitch. Focus on what you can do (within reason and reality) to make your next event even greater--without breaking your stride.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.