Honestly . . . this is a hard topic for me to write about. Why? Because, I’m a perfectionist. Yup, it’s now out there for the world to know. I like all my ducks neatly in a row and it drives me crazy when those ducks decide to have a mind of their own. If you know me at all, then you may be thinking “then how the heck are you so calm, amidst all the chaos?” My answer is actually pretty simple: I Plan.
I plan for the unexpected, just as much, if not more than I plan for the actual event. I figure if I consider all the possible things that could go wrong and do my best to hedge the risk of them happening from the get go; I’m bound to have positive results.
One) I’ve probably lowered the risk of bad things happening
Two) I’ve got a Plan B, C and D in if plans need to be adjusted last minute
Lower the Risk
Part of my job is to take care of the event logistics. In doing so, I make it a point to have really good communication with all the vendors I have hired. They are always in the know (before the event day) of all the what’s, where’s and why’s. We share contact information for the day of the event and you better believe, if their arrival time comes and goes and they aren’t there yet I’ll be calling. I also feel it is super important for the event planner/organizer to arrive at the venue well ahead of time. I usually arrive 30-60 minutes before anyone else does. This gives me time to review room diagrams, discuss details with food/beverage, and correct any concerns or issues before I get involved in overseeing other people. Lastly, I ensure when others do start arriving that they understand their tasks and are familiar with the space. If you are not ready for the arrival of your vendors ahead of time, you will get pulled in 100 different directions. When an unexpected issue does crop up, I’m ready and available to problem solve.
Absolutely always have a backup plan in place if your event is outside and there is any chance the weather could go South and let’s be real there is always a chance the weather can change. You should have a plan in place if you are concerned about a speaker or any other vendor you’ve had difficulty communicating with and think there is any possibility they might not show up. Include in your initial budgeting a line item for a contingency plan. If you know a tent would be the backup if weather is not cooperative, then know the cost ahead of time. If you don’t need it, then great! But if you do and you did not account for it, your profitable event could take a serious turn towards the red.
As much as I would love an event to be absolutely perfect, there are too many variables that are outside of my control no matter how much I plan. I have learned that accounting for the possibility that the unexpected could happen and accepting it, makes the process so much easier and in most cases, no one even knows there was an issue but me.
My final piece of advice, no matter how disastrous the situation, remain calm and courteous. You will have an easier time thinking outside of the box to quickly solve the issue and those around you will be more willing to help and contribute to the solution.
Keep Calm and Party On!
Multi Day Conferences, Special Events and Fundraisers