Do you often find yourself worrying about the possible outcomes and scenarios that can take place despite your maximum effort? It is in our nature to fear the unknown; hence, we tend to learn to understand and foresee everything that can take place. Our pre-lived experiences, even if they were unpleasant, tend to be less stressful than the unknown because we know the possible outcome already. Our brains are wired to think, “Familiar is safe; familiar is good."
A common reaction I receive to this topic is usually, “If I have so little control over the outcome, what difference does it make to try in the first place?" However, this is not the case. Your preparation and work directly affect your confidence and ability to meet an issue.
In an industry such as event management, there is close to a 0% chance that everything will go exactly according to plan without any hiccups. Somewhere along the way, something or someone will most certainly cause a problem. It doesn't necessarily have to be an issue caused by someone; it can be as simple as a speaker, a key staff member, or a shuttle driver just falling sick. The important thing, however, is not the problem itself but our reaction to it and how quickly we can get back up from the fall. Just like in any other part of our life, failure and hiccups will occur no matter how hard we try or how we think through the process, but we learn from our experience, get up, shake off the dust, and continue.
Event management is considered one of the most stressful jobs there is to occupy. Organizing, managing, and directing a vast number of individuals and their requirements is a highly stressful task just by explaining it. Keeping a still and calm mind is essential for all aspects of this industry. Stress management and crisis management are two connected and essential skill sets to have here. Although not everything is preventable, if you know where the biggest issues can arise, you can always prepare upfront.
There are always endless possibilities for what can happen, so don't stress thinking about all of them. Proper preparation leads to confidence and a calm mind, which can solve anything. Have a team you can rely on, form protocols upfront, and be sure your communication is fast and exact.
Dealing with Unexpected Hiccups: Proactive Solutions
1. Pre-event Risk Assessment:
Before your event, conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Identify potential points of failure, and brainstorm strategies to mitigate or address them. This proactive approach can help you foresee and prepare for potential hiccups.
2. Emergency Protocols:
Develop a set of emergency protocols and communicate them to your team. Clearly outline the steps to be taken in various scenarios, such as a speaker cancellation, technical glitches, or staff emergencies. Having a well-defined plan can streamline decision-making during high-stress situations.
3. Diverse Skill Sets in Your Team:
Assemble a diverse team with a range of skills and experiences. This ensures that even if one team member faces an unexpected challenge, there's likely someone with the expertise to handle it. Cross-training your team members can also enhance their adaptability.
4. Effective Communication Channels:
Establish clear and efficient communication channels within your team. Quick and precise communication is crucial during crises. Utilize tools such as walkie-talkies, group messaging apps, or event management software to keep everyone informed in real-time.
5. Flexible Scheduling:
Build flexibility into your event schedule. Avoid tight timelines that leave little room for error. Padding your schedule allows for adjustments in case of delays or unforeseen circumstances, reducing the impact of unexpected hiccups.
6. Backup Plans for Key Elements:
Identify critical components of your event, such as key speakers, equipment, or transportation, and have backup plans in place. This could include having substitute speakers on standby, backup equipment, or alternative transportation arrangements.
7. On-site Crisis Management Team:
Designate a crisis management team responsible for handling unexpected issues on-site. Train this team to remain calm under pressure and empower them to make quick decisions. Having a dedicated team can prevent chaos and ensure a more organized response to problems.
8. Post-Event Evaluation:
After the event, conduct a thorough debriefing session. Evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies in handling unexpected challenges. Use this feedback to continually improve your preparation and response mechanisms for future events.
9. Learn from Experience:
Treat each hiccup as a learning opportunity. Analyze the root causes of the issues and discuss with your team how similar problems can be avoided in the future. This continuous improvement mindset will contribute to the refinement of your event management processes.
In conclusion, while it's impossible to eliminate all uncertainties, a proactive and prepared approach significantly enhances your ability to navigate unexpected hiccups successfully. Remember, a well-prepared team and comprehensive planning can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and improvement.