When Things Go Wrong: Troubleshooting on Event Day
No one wants to think about worst case scenarios. Some people think that simply envisioning the worst will somehow conjure it up in real life. Others just don’t want to deal with the stress of thinking about all of the what-ifs. We don’t disagree – thinking about the worst case isn’t always the most fun way to spend your day. But inevitably, whether you think about it or not, sometimes things will go wrong. And maybe they aren’t disasters, but they are still things that didn’t go according to plan.
And when things don’t go according to plan, you have to somehow get yourself together long enough to have a coherent thought so that you can put a fix in place or manage the situation if there’s no fix. So what do you do when things start to unravel on event day? The thing you’ve prepped and planned for months is now starting to fall apart – how do you handle it? Here are some ways you can troubleshoot when things go wrong on event day so that you can save face, save stress, and put on a smooth and memorable (for the right reasons) event.
Event Day Troubleshooting Tips
We cannot stress one point enough: being able to be flexible and having the mental clarity to troubleshoot issues under high pressure situations such as the event day itself relies on your ability to plan for the worst. We aren’t suggesting that you focus on the negative, but you need to pad your downside by planning for potential hazards along the way.
If you’ve done your homework and you understand the potential problems you could run into on event day, then you’ve already taken the first step toward troubleshooting those same issues. Follow these steps to ensure that even if things do not goes as planned on event day, that you can recover quickly and provide a quality experience for your attendees.
Common Event Day Problems and What to Do
- The weather turns on you. Of all the things we can control, the weather is not one of them. Even if your event is indoors, the weather can have an impact on its success. If people have to be stuck inside all day they can get stir crazy and if the event was supposed to be outside, having to move indoors can cramp your style. However, with a little pre-planning, this is an easy problem to troubleshoot, even if not ideal. Always have a plan B for inclement weather. If weather could potentially cause travel problems, have a plan in place to either arrange for alternative travel or be prepared to offer some sort of refund or compensation to those who are delayed by weather-related travel issues. If it’s an outdoor event, be sure to have an indoor backup space ready just in case. Also, have a plan for moving people from one place to the other as well as a mechanism for communicating last-minute information to attendees.
- The technology fails. Technology will inevitably fail to some extent, regardless of your pre-planning. If you are relying on any specific type of technology for speakers or sessions, be sure to have a backup in place. That could be another set of equipment, 3rd party AV providers on hand, or having a low-tech replacement.
- The space can’t contain you. Your event is more popular than you’d imagined or a session is busting at the seams. This can create a negative attendee experience quickly. Have rooms on hand for overflow that are equipped with speakers and monitors so people can enjoy the session from another room. If it’s the after party or happy hour that are busier than expected, have another bar or site ready for your overflow.
- The schedule gets off track. When things get behind, it can spell disaster for your event. People like to be able to plan and if sessions are running late, it will cause problems for the rest of their day, which will lead to a bad experience. Be sure to do what you can to prevent this problem from happening. Have someone in the room with a timer who’s ready to cut off the session at its scheduled time or have an attendant check on the room when the session should be over to usher people out. If things get behind anyway, it’s good to have a come and go policy that allows people to enter sessions or events a little late without too much fanfare.
You can stay way ahead of troubleshooting by hiring the right coordinator who knows the local area well and has local contacts that can prevent these issues and any others from occurring. ATX Event Systems can help you do just that and more. Please contact us the next time you have an event or meeting in the great State of Texas. We’ll be glad to help.