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How to deal with Event Hiccups

Hosting an event of any size requires a significant amount of planning.

Event managers are usually tasked with drawing up plans to map out everything from site layout and infrastructure logistics to event décor and risk management.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a small cocktail party or a large corporate affair, you’ll be aware of just how much forethought is required.http://thepadesk.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif” >

This far-sightedness is even more crucial when it comes to addressing emergency management.

You need to be on the ball with ensuring that your event complies with legal requirements, as well as health and fire safety regulations; it’s a vital part of any event manager’s role, but what about the minor problems?

The so-called “hiccups” are the things that are difficult to anticipate and plan for.

However, as any successful event manager will tell you, an exceptional event is found in the details. Here are four tips on how to deal with event hiccups:

Make a risk management list

The identifiable pitfalls like fire, health and safety risks aside, you still need to anticipate minor annoyances on the day.

The best way to do this is to do a mental walk-through of the event proceedings, first on your own and then with someone else.

Basically, you need to imagine yourself at the event through every stage, from arrival to departure, and anticipate everything that you as a guest would notice or require.

For instance, ask yourself questions throughout – Is the signage clear? Can all guests see the main entertainment from their seats?

Are there sufficient ablution facilities and toiletries for the number of people? If possible, every small and seemingly trivial detail should be anticipated.

Have a plan of action or a go-to person

If any of your anticipated hiccups occur, your risk management list will detail a possible plan of action or a go-to person.

If you run out of toiletries on the day, who will you contact? If the car park becomes muddy and your venue is carpeted, how will you deal with guests tracking dirt into the venue?

These somewhat obscure issues should be addressed and, if you can’t address them, you should have someone on call who can.

Check what your contractors require

It’s easy to manage the event aspects that you control directly, but what about the people who you contract to provide a service at your event – what will happen if the caterers don’t arrive with everything that they need to prepare the food?

This can happen when there is miscommunication about what is expected. As the event organiser, you will need to ensure that you have covered all your bases with contractors.

Ask questions like – what will the caterers need to perform their function?

Will they have all the cooking utensils that they require or will they expect certain appliances and utensils to be made available?

Before formalising any relationship with a contractor, make sure that everyone is on the same page concerning what is expected.

Compile a time chart

It’s all in the timing. Once you’ve attended to the tiniest of details, your focus should be on the smooth execution of the event.

In the events management industry, timing is an art that you learn from experience.

To make your life easier, compile a time chart and allocate blocks of time to certain activities.

These don’t have to be too rigid, but just remember that if one event runs over time, it can have a very negative knock-on effect for the rest of your planned activities.

Effective event management entails catering for the unexpected. However, remember to keep calm in every situation.

Even the most experienced event manager won’t be able to anticipate every problem.

If you are interested in this topic, take a look at our University of Cape Town Events Management course.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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