Event risk management
Sometimes, no matter how well organized or planned an event is, things go wrong. Whether it’s the technology that lets you down or simple human error, these things just happen from time to time.
The solution is to be aware of what can go wrong (the obvious things, at least) and make a contingency plan in case they do.
As event planners, we often are so busy that we can overlook elements detrimental to the success of our events. My opinion that is always good to be reminded of past mistakes, why they arose and how you overcame them. For this reason, at Markable we try to continuously develop ourselves in our event planning and become as efficient and effective as possible.
Recently I finalized one of my biggest projects till now, a yearly corporate event for one of the biggest IT security company in the world and will use this opportunity to share with you all challenges who met me on the way. Some are no-brainers – but you’d be surprised at what you might overlook when the stress piles on!
My moto? Hope for the best – plan for the worst
Budgets today are shrinking and Event Manager have to get creative and do more, with much less. It would be great if we were all able to plan and host an event without a budget – the possibilities would be endless. This is still the case though, of course, (the endless possibilities part) if you stay on top of your finances. Always be sure to set a threshold for your event so that you don’t end up paying for your mistakes after (literally).
1- Set a clear budget limit for your event
2- Track your expenses as you go
3- Get creative and come up with unique ideas (e.g. décor, etc.) that are also budget-friendly.
Poor time management
It’s vital that you invest the right resources in the right place, at the right time. We all have a “oh, I could have this done in no time” moment at some point. Often though, we tend to regret procrastinating and wish that we could go back in time to begin planning sooner.
1- Set short and long-term targets to make sure things are done when they need to be
2- Start off with the info essentials: event venue, event size and which are events going on at the same time
There isn’t enough staff
Sometimes it’s a one-person army tackling the annual conference and other times it’s a team of ten devoted souls working towards an exhibition. Above all though, it’s important (and sometimes necessary) to just reach out and ask for help – you’d be amazed which of your colleagues would be interested in lending a hand!
To many tools
It’s always nice to have a tool for everything. A tool to manage your budget, a tool to track your event tasks, a tool for emailing, a tool for registrations, and of course some mobile apps to keep you organized on-the-move.
How does one then sift out the useful from the useless tools?
1- If you still have to ‘figure out’ a tool but you’re “sure it will help” – don’t bother wasting your time picking and testing tools when you don’t have the time
2- Less is more. One or two integrated tools can go a long way – if you often find yourself planning events, look into online software that can be customized to meet your needs.
Not enough XP
Things can get out of control pretty quickly without a captain steering the ship – or in the case of event planning, leading the event team.
Not having the right people in the right place is a recipe for disaster.
An event team leader needs to have an overview of the workloads and schedules of their team and coordinate activities therein. Once your event team manager understands each team members’ capabilities it will be much easier to get task done in the most efficient and effective way possible.
As a team manager:
1- LEAD your team – (almost) anyone can manage
2- Positive reinforcement goes a long way
As a team member:
1- There is no ‘I’ in team
2- Work to your strengths – this is the best approach when there’s not enough time and much to do.
As with most things, it is unlikely that your event plans will remain constant – change is inevitable. A lot of the times though failing to keep track of event changes are as a result of a budget or task management issue.
So, how can you prepare and avoid this?
1- Make sure your budget is airtight and thoroughly thought-out
2- Set a realistic and detailed event timeline and pre-plan as much as possible
3- Gather details on any changes, e.g.: the reasons for the change, who is responsible, etc. – this way you can consider these insights for your next event
Even if it means that people start to get slightly annoyed with you, it is important to :
Check, double check and check again!
Ensure that your clients fully approve the event schedule, your staff know the rules and procedures, as well as the running order AND the potential plan B, is in place.
If you have guest speakers then ensure they also know the running order and ask them to be available a specific amount of time before they are due to speak, and check that your venue can cater to your schedule and be sure to ask about any issues that may crop up on their part.
These scenarios are common, but they needn’t be. Being aware of the things that can go wrong gives you an opportunity to put in place measures to make sure that they either don’t go wrong or if they do, that they don’t negatively impact the experience of your attendees!
Sources: www.azavista.com & www.eventsair.com