In a perfect world, every single one of your events would run as smoothly as possible, without any deviations from your event plan. However, I am sure I do not have to tell you that this is rarely how things go – whether minor or major, it seems as if there is always something that goes unplanned.
The scheduled speaker is MIA. The power went out. The caterer didn’t get the ‘vegetarian only’ memo. Let’s face it – sometimes, things just happen.
The important thing to remember is that, regardless of what happens, your response to the situation at hand is what matters. Of course, much of your response will depend on how well you have prepared in advance. Although you may not be able to prepare for a specific incident, a risk management plan can help you to be primed and ready for whatever comes your way while safeguarding the interests of your business.
Where do I start?
Your risk management plan begins with the identification of potential risks that may affect an event. For example, if it’s an outdoor celebration, the weather is always a primary risk to consider. Just as you would craft a ‘plan B’ in case of inclement weather, you will want to come up with solutions for other potential issues. What if a vendor doesn’t show up? What happens if someone gets hurt? Is there enough staff to handle the guest count? Mentally walk through the event from start to finish until you can identify any and all risks that may come up.
Who should I include?
Remember: Events are a team effort, so risk management should be a task for everyone involved in the final result. This includes, but is not limited to, the planner, the designer, the florist, the photographer, the lighting crew, and any onsite venue staff. Bringing in the whole team will ensure that your plan is fully fleshed out in every direction.
Once you have a solid idea of potential risks, work with the event team to come up with reasonable, logical solutions for each one. This is where multiple perspectives come into play – everybody has a different specialty, so working together can truly make all the difference in a successful event.
What if something happens anyway?
Being prepared doesn’t always prevent things from going wrong. In case something goes awry on the event day, get in touch with the team to address the situation immediately. If possible, avoid letting the client know there is an issue until you have a solution in place. Once the problem has been handled, be sure to have a debriefing meeting with the team to discuss what happened and how to avoid it in the future.
How should I respond?
If there was a problem at your event, whether small or large, it’s important to be transparent and open about what happened. If the fault is on you, take responsibility in a professional and respectful manner. Playing the blame game doesn’t do anyone any favors. If necessary, look for ways to make amends with the client, whether it means a partial refund or a simple apology.
Taking a risk isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, risks can often reap rewards with more opportunities. However, if you do plan on taking a risk, just be sure that you are well prepared to handle the outcome, no matter what it is.