Do you ever plan an event for days, weeks, or months just to see it not go as planned? It can be a frustrating experience for all involved. All the hours that you put into trying to hire a set up crew or technicians just to have system problems throughout your event is a huge headache that no one ever wants to deal with. But there are ways to overcome these problems if the occur. Here are five tips that I recommend to any event planner for you keep in mind as you’re planning and executing your next event.
#1: Nothing Goes According to Plan
Even though some of us seem bigger than life, it does not change the fact that we are all human beings that make mistakes. Even if we plan the event all the way to the end, it does not mean that it will be smooth sailing. If we accept that there’s a good chance that mistakes will be made, then we can take the right steps to keep the event going when it does not go according to plan.
#2: Plan for Error
The saying goes: hope for the best but prepare for the worst. As mentioned in tip #1, mistakes are likely to happen. In an event, there should be contingency plans in place for when the event goes off course. What happens if a speaker doesn’t show up? What if their equipment doesn’t work? Have plans in place for all these potential issues. The important thing to note here is that by planning for mistakes, we can try to make them less noticeable and less awkward. Once of the best ways to develop contingency plans is to build efficiency into your project management process. You can learn more about that here.
#3: Always be Kind
Can you imagine a moment more surreal and embarrassing than to spend months or years of time to prepare an event, only to have someone on a crew you hired make a mistake? For example, your caterer comes to the event without a vegetarian option or the AV vendor doesn’t hire a crew for the day of the event.
In situations like these, both parties feel awful about what happened. When things go wrong at your event, you decide how the event is going to continue. You can be upset and ruin the whole event with your attitude, or you can be classy by not letting the moment get the best of you.
#4: Immediately Apologize
When a mistake is made, it would seem that the only natural response for the people at fault is to simply downplay that mistake in an attempt to save themselves the embarrassment. The best solution to making a mistake is taking full responsibility for the mistake by apologizing for it. By taking full responsibility for the situation, it gives you the power to be in control to correct the situation. Do not make any attempt to blame other people for the mistake. As the organizer, it’s important to understand and learn what you could do better next time to prevent such issues.
#5: Forgive and Remember
At the end of every awful moment, all you can do is what you are capable of to set things right. Once you have done your best to correct a situation then you need to move on. There will still be good throughout the event after the incident. And people to thank for coming. And parties that need attending. After all the self-doubt and switching gears trying to get the train back on the tracks, all in all the event accomplished its true intentions.
No matter the size of the mistake, it does not have to hold your event back from accomplishing its goals. Each mistake comes with a lesson that can be learned from. It teaches a lot about how to handle unexpected situations and how to plan for them for future events. What’s done is done, and you cannot continue to punish yourself or others for things not going according to plan. Forgive yourself for what has happened, and let go of the stress that it has caused you. For the past is in the past and remember what happened to prepare yourself for the future.