That date ringed in red on the calendar has finally arrived and as soon as the day begins the problems start: a delayed flight, traffic jams… some of them even take you by surprise because they are just so unexpected. And you know better than anyone that you need to be prepared to overcome unforeseen obstacles in record time, fixing tens of little issues and finding perfect solutions to every unanticipated problem. Follow this advice and don’t let anything come between your event and its complete success!

Make sure nothing comes between your event and complete success.

1. Anticipate problems and create your own anti-crisis plan.

There are hundreds of things that can occasionally disturb the smooth running of an event. Often a fast response by the organizers can avoid that something that could be fixed quickly turns into a problem that ends up taking over the event or even forces you to cancel the remainder of it. For example, you should have an action plan in case your star speaker suddenly becomes ill, is late or just doesn’t show up. Another common problem: the speaker forgets the flash drive he has his presentation stored on. Set aside enough time to create a solid crisis management plan and send it to everyone on your team.

Some items you should include:

  • Before finalizing the contract with your star speaker, agree that they will provide you with content (for example a video of the speech) in case they cancel, or confirm that another member of their team can stand in if need be.
  • Ask the speakers for their final presentations at least 24 hours before the event.
  • Carry out at least one practice session in the venue, the day before or a few hours before the actual event, including all the presentations.
  • Make one or two backup copies of the presentations and take them with you to the event.
  • Check that the presentations can be seen correctly and pre-load the presentation video so that the audience doesn’t have to wait for it to start playing. You might have to face some problems like: the presentation was created on different software and won’t run properly, or the computer used for the presentation doesn’t have the right fonts installed.
  • Find a good partner, who guarantees you the best technology with no problems. 

2. Shorten the chain of command.

It’s vital that the whole team knows the hierarchy of your organization and, therefore, knows who to speak to in case of unforeseen issues. It’s also important for you to try to reduce the number of people a warning has to go through when something isn’t going right.

Here’s an example: imagine there’s been a change to the timetable and you have to bring lunch forward by one hour. At that moment it’s vital you know who to call. In meetings held at NH Hotel Group you’ll always have a trusted person available who can rapidly find solutions adapted to your needs, right there and then. The more direct you can make the communications, the faster the search for solutions will be, meaning the event can get straight back on track.  

3. Use a good communication system with your team.

Sometimes a few minutes can be decisive in solving a crisis and nowadays technology can cut the time involved by a surprising amount. Cellphones, tablets and intercoms allow information to flow between all the members of the team, and are a very useful investment.

4. Prepare yourself for the media.

If you’ve invited journalists or photographers it’s vital to inform them in advance about the plan for the event. It makes their work easier and helps them to cover the event well. As an example, it’s useful to leave a number of seats for the press and reserve an exclusive time slot for a photo session or interviews with the key speakers.

And if a problem does arise, you’ll need to double your efforts to deal with it. In addition, you should already be prepared and have a communication plan ready for any crisis scenario. Have statements written and approved along with press releases with standard comments to give out as soon as possible. Keeping the journalists informed will help ensure it is you who is in control of the information and make it easier to shift any negative focus away from the event itself.

Going back to the situation where your star speaker hasn’t appeared, as we’ve seen you should have a solution prepared to keep the event on track, and you should also have a communication plan drawn up so the absence doesn’t become a source of rumors and take interest away from the event.

In summary, it’s vital to spend time creating a crisis management plan and send it to everyone on the team. Invest in technological solutions to keep everyone connected and, if you can, do little practice drills ahead of time. With these tips, you’ll cope with any unforeseen incident and get the most out of your event.