How to Prepare for the Unexpected When Organising an Event

10 May

Event planners need to have alternate plans in place just in case Murphy’s Law strikes. This law says that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and event planners can often attest to its accuracy. Still, it’s often easier said than done to prepare for the unexpected, even though this preparation can separate top-class planners from the also-ran. So, how can you prepare for these eventualities as you chase the lofty goals of successful event management?

Focus on the “What If”

What is one of the key characteristics of successful event management? First, always identify what COULD go wrong. In other words, make a long list of “what ifs” and devise solutions in each case.

Remember, each event is different, and there is no such thing as an off-the-shelf solution to expected problems. Instead, you need to analyse each part of your event, especially some of the pinch points, where issues may be more likely. Then, think outside the box and try to predict problems so you know what to do should one arise.

Characteristics of successful event management
Characteristics of successful event management

Look Outside Your Team As Well

Your list should focus on areas that you or your team have direct responsibility for, but you should also delve into other areas as well. Certainly, you could argue that a supplier is responsible for their side of the bargain when supplying your event in any way. Still, an associated issue could reflect badly on you. So, if you identify any potential problems with suppliers or other providers, make sure that you discuss these with the supplier and are happy with any Plan B.

It’s not always easy to turn potential problems into suitable solutions, but the more work you put in at this stage, the less risk you’ll take. For example, you may have chosen a particular caterer because they are at the top of their game and provide you with the F&B solution you seek. Of course, you may not be able to get a like-for-like replacement should an issue befall your favoured caterer, but if you’ve taken the time to line up a more-than-simply-adequate alternative, you may stave off disaster.

Be Prepared

Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of successful event management is being prepared and acting as soon as something doesn’t go the right way. Visualise issues in your mind and estimate the outcome.

Event management company
Event management company

Be Ready with Your Response

What kind of response will you and your staff have? Certainly, you’ll want to be professional, take responsibility for this situation, and get to work. Every veteran event planner has faced such a situation, and in this industry, it’s only a matter of time before new planners do so as well.

Try a Dry Run

If possible, do a dry run for your event from start to finish, including all vendors, suppliers and other staff. You will be surprised how this type of activity can often uncover problems before they really matter.

What are the five C's of successful event management?
What are the five C’s of successful event management?

Brainstorm at Every Stage

The principals of an event management company will face five individual stages as they plan, also referred to as “the five C’s of successful event management.” These are:

  1. concept,
  2. coordination,
  3. control,
  4. culmination,
  5. closeout.

Each event management company should take the opportunity to brainstorm as they roll through these stages to see how issues could arise. They should then try and manipulate the event to avoid such issues. But how do you apply these principles (some of the most important characteristics of successful event management) to your potential event? For example, could you tweak the concept to avoid a potentially disastrous issue down the line? Do you need to add another key event staff to help with coordination at a particular pinch point?

Choose the Best Event Staff

Once you have done your best to identify potential issues and develop several “Plan B’s,” turn your attention to staffing. You’ll need the best event staff you can get to help you with successful event management. Crucially, you need people who will perform under pressure and could help to keep things on track should issues arise. So, for assistance with promotional staff, exhibition staff, corporate event staff or brand ambassadors, turn to one of the leaders in this field, Eventeem. Reach out to one of their friendly representatives for more advice about this element of successful event management.