Thursday, November 19, 2009

Event Scheduling: Tips and False Assumptions

I like attending parties.

I really, really do. I relish the chance to hang out with people I know and folks I don't. A good party is an evening spent enjoying a temporary camaraderie: you're part of something, if only for a night.

I'm also not the sort that hits five parties in a night. I feel it detracts and distracts from the party atmosphere. No matter how popular I may feel, there's still scheduling involved, thoughts of how long I can spend here, whether I'll blow off my next stop. I'd rather see a night with one event, at most two good events planned.

That's why I get so mad when I see poor event scheduling. It bugs me when four events are planned for a night that isn't a holiday. Sometimes there are a slew of parties or meetings on nights that aren't even weekend nights. These nights have nothing going for them and, in many cases, actually have plenty of better alternatives. Here are some of the false assumptions that cause these scheduling collisions, and tips on how to avoid them:

  1. FALSE: Friday & Saturday nights are already full of interesting events. This may have been true once, but if too many people believe it, they stop planning events for those nights. That makes it untrue. Go and look at your Twitter & Facebook for last Friday & Saturday nights. There are at least two people wishing for something to do, aren't there? Sure, there may be an event on any random Friday or Saturday night, but those nights aren't the collision magnets that a night like Thursday has become.

  2. FALSE: Thursday is a great night to plan an event. I understand your reasoning: It's near the weekend, so people are more likely to attend. It's also not full of events like Friday or Saturday night is bound to be.

    BZZZZZZZZ! WRONG.

    This is another case where too many people believing something makes it untrue. If you think Thursday is a great night for karaoke, and Jimmy thinks Thursday is a great night for watching a classic film, and Ralphie figures his potluck would get more attendees on Thursday instead of Friday, guess what? You're all going to get 1/3 the guests. Thursday night has become the new weekend - not just the start of it, but really the only night people feel is useful & unlikely to be booked. It's a damned shame, and you should avoid falling into this trap.

  3. FALSE: If I plan an event for the middle of the week, no one will attend. Ridiculous. People get just as bored in the middle of the week as they do other nights. You can schedule a gathering for the early evening on Tuesday or Wednesday and people will show. Sure, people have to be at work the next day; all that means is that your event should end by 10 or 10:30. If anyone claims they have to catch a TV show that night, inform them of the existence of D/PVR technology, then perhaps follow it up with a declaration that they are too lame to be your friend and a punch in the face. If the show is "America's Top Model" or the like, the face punch becomes mandatory.

  4. FALSE: The third weekend of the month is a great time to plan an event. Again, it stops being a great time when everyone else schedules for those days, too. Sure, it's far enough into the month that word will spread, but you know what? EVERY WEEKEND is three weeks before another weekend. Just plan for the first weekend of the month and get the word out ahead of time. That way, you won't have to compete with the four events taking place the third weekend of the month.

  5. TRUE: You should check your "Events" page on Facebook before scheduling. Come on. You'd be a damned fool not to do this. We all know that not every event has a Facebook page, but lots of them sure do.

  6. TRUE: It's okay to schedule an event for the same day or time as another event. This one goes against everything that came before, but it's true. If one time works for you and another just doesn't, you can knowingly cause an event collision. There are things to consider, but the biggest and most important is this: are the events different enough & popular enough that each will net a definite group of attendees? If so, go ahead and make that second event. It might not be huge, but people will still come.

Okay, denizens of the netterbutts and generic party people. I have given you the knowledge. Please spread it around and use it wisely.