The reality is that things can go wrong at even some of the most excellently orchestrated events. Unforeseen circumstances can throw a perfect plan right out of action. That’s why in event management, it’s crucial to work a Plan B, C, and often even D into your brainstorming process. Doing this means you’ll be ready to troubleshoot any problems that might creep in, and you’ll be able to do it while staying as cool as a cucumber.
Some may think of having a Plan B as not putting full faith into Plan A, but at the end of the day, it’s all about being prepared for, well, anything. Because let’s face it, working with events in South Africa means we’re always prepared for something unexpected – whether it’s a power outage, out-of-the-blue weather changes, or equipment hiccups. We’re experts at foreseeing any potential risks or threats and staying one step ahead with contingency plans. Here are some of the things we believe are important along the way.
Expect the unexpected in event management
When large crowds and budgets are at stake, it’s always better to be over-prepared. Make sure you have a backup plan for absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong. We like to use an event management checklist, which you can refer to during your brainstorming process.
Here are some common things you may need to consider ahead of your event:
• Technical issues
• Understaffed on the day
• Power outages
• Transportation or parking issues
• Schedule running early or late
• Bad weather
• Bathroom facility issues
• Medical emergencies
• Vendor cancellations
• Less or more guests than expected
• Fire and safety hazards
Whilst anything could go wrong anywhere and at any time, one of the best ways to avoid some of these issues is to select the best and most appropriate location. Pick a spot that’s easily accessible. Have a few site visits to ask questions beforehand, and start brainstorming the ‘what ifs’ early on.
How to deal with unpredictable weather
We’ve been there. A carefully planned outside event can turn disastrous if the weather suddenly changes. And South Africa’s weather has a mind of its own. If you’re planning an outdoor event, it’s crucial to have both a wet weather plan and a heatwave plan.
When brainstorming your event, maybe consider both indoor and outside locations to cater to the heavens opening or an unexpected tornado (Cape Town, we’re looking at you). This may involve including back-up plans for indoor activities you’ve got planned and perhaps even bathroom facilities. If having an indoor location isn’t possible for your budget, look at ways of including proper waterproof coverings. The last thing you’d want is for any technical equipment to get wet, too!
Did the heat roll in? Make sure you’ve allocated enough shady areas and ample drinking water. These small touches won’t go unnoticed should the weather turn. And it will really make a difference between your guests enjoying themselves despite the weather, or leaving your event entirely. On top of that, you don’t want to risk any health issues if people struggle with the elements. Rather be safe, or you can be sure to be social-media-sorry!
Technical issues happen
Power outages, faulty microphones, and no-show DJs. Or how about a frozen computer during a video presentation? It can all happen. It’s embarrassing and can look extremely unprofessional.
Firstly, when it comes to avoiding technical issues, we suggest working with a technical events company or suppliers that you trust implicitly. Secondly, rehearse your event or do a tech run-through ahead of the big day. Trial all laptops, screens, lights, microphones.
Top tip: Don’t stream presentations online and have multiple hard files stored long in advance.
Many hands make light work
Seriously though, this old adage really rings true when it comes to event management. Always make sure you have enough staff. Because when things go wrong, you’re going to need as many hands as possible. Mistakes can happen, emergencies can occur, and things can go wrong when human beings are involved. Unfortunately, event management companies experience issues with last-minute staff cancellations or budgets that limit staff allocations. Schedule staff long in advance to avoid any disappointment and set aside some budget for that just-in-case fund.
Brainstorming a ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ together
Many event management companies believe that Plan A and B should be planned separately, but why not plan both together?. When the two are not planned together, Plan B can often be put on the backlog and left until the last minute. And the details aren’t thought through well enough (or you land up doing double the work!). When putting plans in place, it helps to always rehearse your event or how it will play out. This will make it easier to predict any problems that might arise, and you’ll have a better understanding of any hiccups which might be around the corner.
Once your plans are set, communicate them with everyone involved, verbally or by using event management software. It’s important that your contingency plans are ready to be rolled out at a moment’s notice, and all people involved know exactly how to run with them.
Keep calm and carry on
Event management isn’t for the faint-hearted. In fact, it takes a specific mix of heart, passion, and skills to succeed in this industry. When and if things don’t go according to plan, clients, vendors, and attendees look to you for guidance and reassurance. It’s crucial to smile through adversity and stay calm while you fix and roll out your solutions. Luckily, if you’ve planned a contingency plan well, you won’t have to think on your feet or worry much about it.
Leave your event management in the right hands
Planning for the unexpected allows you to make sure you haven’t overlooked any details. And partnering with the right events management company can make all the difference in ensuring things go well.
Choose the right event management company in South Africa — we’ll show you how to gain maximum engagement and exposure for your event. Get in touch with the Jawbone crew today.