As corporate event organizers in DC, Dallas, and Los Angeles, we understand the enormity of putting together just the right events for organizations like yours.

If you’re currently in charge of one of these events (or expect to be in the future), we’re here to guide you through the process, and one way to do this is by telling you what NOT to do. Let other corporate events “oofs” be your cautionary tale, and avoid these common mistakes.

1. Lack of Signage or Difficult Venue to Navigate

Nothing gets the event off on the wrong note for an attendee more than getting lost or pacing around in frustration trying to figure out where to go. The experience should start as soon as someone arrives at the event. Set the tone for your guests right away with clear directions.

Ask yourself if you can quickly locate the venue from the parking lot or transportation drop-off points. Your guests should not have to guess whether to turn right or left. There should be proper signage and easy-to-spot clues to guide your guests to the right spot. If your events become notorious for lack of signage, guests may decide to leave to avoid the hassle. What a shame to ruin an experience with something so small and avoidable.

This goes for the entrance as well. Make sure your guests are not confused when they walk into the space. They should not be guessing where they’re supposed to sit, if they are supposed to sit, or what they should be doing. As the host or party planner, you must find a way to communicate with your guests and help them feel involved and in the know.

2. Poor Temperature Control

A room that’s too warm will encourage guests to zone out. A room that’s too cold will cause your guests to over-focus on their discomfort. Make sure to adequately cool down your event space on warmer days before the event or properly heat it in advance so that guests, speakers, entertainers, etc., can enjoy themselves.

Putting together a corporate or social event is a lot of work; you don’t want your guests to miss the magic because they are so focused on warming themselves up or cooling themselves down. The temperature in a venue can indeed make or break an experience.

3. Unreliable WiFi or Lack of Power Outlets

We are in 2023. There’s no excuse for poor WiFi or a lack of power outlets. This is a necessity. People will expect stable WiFi. Whatever corporate or social event you’re hosting, get the WiFi and power outlet situation figured out well before the event. If passwords are needed, make sure they are readily available to guests for seamless connectivity. It’s a great idea to go a step further and provide quiet work spaces and built-in break rooms. Your attendees will appreciate these accommodations and come away with positive vibes for your organization.

4. No Thought Toward Inclusivity

It is vital to provide accommodations for your guests, whether accessibility accommodations for those with disabilities, dietary accommodations, inclusive branding and marketing, assistive technology, or language services. Prioritize features such as wheelchair ramps, accessible seating, braille signage, hearing aids, translators, and interpreters to ensure your event is inclusive and inviting to everyone. Nowadays, so many resources are available that there is no excuse not to be inclusive.

5. Too Much Waste

Think sustainability. Think less plastic and more recyclable materials. Your attendees will notice wasteful swag, glossy signage that can’t be recycled, wasted food, piles of plastic water bottles, etc.

Focus on sustainability when it comes to packaging, food, and materials. Ensure plenty of water stations around your venue for guests to fill their refillable water bottles. Provide recyclable water cups for those who don’t have their own bottles. (Bonus: a branded, refillable water bottle makes for great swag.)

6. Poor Audiovisuals or Sound

Audiovisuals and sound are usually a huge element at a corporate event. Ensure your system is ready to go and does not malfunction during your event. Do a sound check. Test your video several times beforehand. Make sure the lighting works well. Have a “dress rehearsal” before the big event and practice everything exactly how it will be on the day of.

Nothing will irritate guests more than music that is too loud while trying to network with others or speakers who are too quiet when presenting. Technology should not be an afterthought; it should be a main priority.

7. An Overloaded Schedule

A corporate or social event should have a full agenda of inspiring, fun, and impactful activities. However, there is such a thing as overdoing it. Guests need a breather occasionally, making it essential to work breaks into the agenda. And make sure the breaks are long enough to recharge. We also recommend providing snacks and drinks to enjoy during break time.

Let your guests relax and refuel. They will get much more out of the event this way. Exhaustion does not lead to productivity. Many people are still getting back into the swing of in-person events after Covid and may get burnt out quicker than before. Keep this in mind when creating the agenda.

8. A Schedule that Runs Way Behind

Efficiency is everything at a corporate event. People are here for a purpose and become aggravated when they feel they are wasting their time waiting around. Of course, life happens, things come up, life throws curve balls all the time, and sometimes events start a little behind. Just make sure this isn’t the norm and that you get things back on track quickly.

If you take the time to create and share a schedule, you must follow it. It is unprofessional to have speakers show up late, sessions run longer or shorter than expected, and event organizers to play catch-up the whole time. A disorganized schedule will dim your guests’ impression of your organization.

9. Too Much Fluff and Not Enough Valuable Content

Remember that your attendees took time out of their busy schedules to attend your event. They came for a reason. They came to be uplifted, enlightened, and to learn something of value. Make sure your content sessions have real value.

Ensure the speakers aren’t repetitive but add something new and fresh to the seminar. Keep the sessions short, sweet, lively, interactive, and full of wisdom.

Remember that these small details matter. Overlooking one of them can ruin your event, which would be a real shame after so much thought, planning, and organization went into it. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and let their perspective guide your planning.

Contact us today if you want an experienced corporate event planner to take the reins and ensure your event goes off without a hitch!


Nine Elements of a Corporate Event Gone Wrong