Stop, Drop and Roll Out the Back Up Plan
What is the first thing to do in a crisis? Sound the alarms? Deep breaths? Assume the fetal position?
Well, as event organisers, we want to feel 100% prepared before going onsite to deliver an event, but as we all know, things can happen beyond our control and it is how we deal with them that matters.
Some of our fair share of onsite ‘crises’ include luggage strikes, power cuts during speaker presentations, flight cancellations, stolen belongings and emergency visits to hospital. We have also avoided a potential crisis when, just a week before travelling to Rio de Janeiro to manage a large international event for 300 people, we were told it was unsafe to travel due to rioting, therefore having to re-arrange the event location for an event that took a year and a half to plan!
Safety & security are rightfully becoming a growing priority for live events, so knowing what to do at a time of crisis has never been more relevant and crucial. Here are some of our top tips for managing a crisis:
1. Don’t panic
Staying calm is key as you won’t be able to think straight if your head is all over the place. Take a moment to breathe, collect your thoughts & regain composure before moving forwards to put together a plan of action.
2. Ask for advice
Talk to other members of your team for information to help you make a decision. Your team will feel included and be motivated to deliver a great solution. As an event manager, it is your responsibility to make the final decision – stick to it and let your team know what you want them to do next.
3. Keep everyone in the loop
Make sure you inform all stakeholders as soon as possible no matter what the problem is. Attendees would prefer you to tell them there is a problem that you are working on resolving rather than hearing a rumour and thinking the worst.
4. Understand we are only human
Remember, we are all human who make mistakes and things do go wrong from time to time. Don’t dwell on it thinking about all of the ways you could have prevented it. Stay focused on finding a solution and then continue to deliver a fantastic event – This will ensure that even in a crisis, people will return next year, because you have maintained their trust, goodwill and continued to deliver the event despite difficulties!
5. Have a back-up plan
If you can plan in advance for any eventuality then you will feel more confident when you are faced with a crisis as you will have information at hand to assist you. In addition to your standard onsite ‘Event bible’ which should include useful contacts, emergency procedures, incident forms etc also ensure that you have alternative plans for those unlikely but possible scenarios when you may need to put your plan B into action!
Follow these top tips and you will be able to deal with any crisis with confidence and expertise.
And Remember – everybody makes mistakes, but the successful people are the ones who consider it a lesson learned and use it as an opportunity to grow professionally and continue to deliver events to the highest standard.