Remember that time your event went off without a hitch? Yeah, neither do I. Let’s face facts. Event problems happen no matter what because that’s the way life works. When problems occur there are two ways to handle them. The first way is to completely crumble under the pressure and the fact that things aren’t going as planned, turning this one problem into a colossal disaster that ruins everything or you can realize the problem and takes the appropriate steps in fixing it or making sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t know how to fix the problem? Well, thankfully we’re here to help. Here are the 5 most common problems that happen at events and how to fix them.
Unexpected Inclement Weather
If you’re planning to have you event outdoors then it is absolutely crucial that you have an inclement weather backup plan. The main thing you should do is have a backup, indoor facility in which to house the event. If that doesn’t fall within your budget then the very least you should do have proper waterproof coverings, especially if you are having a technical event with lots of equipment. Weatherproof furniture or things you can easily wipe down are also good ideas. You should avoid cushions that soak up water and anything that could blow away with a decent gust of wind. It could also be a good idea to have things like raincoats, ponchos or umbrellas on hand for attendees or even fans, sunscreen and bottles of water in case you get a sudden heat wave.
Have you ever had an event where your keynote speaker, headliner or special guest has failed to show up? It could be that their mode of transportation is delayed or that they will have just totally bailed on you last minute (I’ve seen it happen). Regardless of their excuse, you now have a room full of people waiting to see them and nothing to show them. So what do you do? Well, you need to get as much notice as possible from your participant that they aren’t going to be able to make it to the event, but you also need to have a backup speaker in mind. Put a clause in the contract that states you need a 24-hour notice in advance if the participant has any doubts that they will be able to fulfill their agreement. Your backup speaker should be primed and ready and should be someone who has flexible availability and can get to your event quickly and easily.
Unnecessarily Long Lines
You know what really shows your attendees that you are unorganized and ill-prepared? Having really long lines. Whether they are at access points, the bathrooms, or the catering tables, you need to work on your planning and ensure that the facility you are using is sufficient for the number of people you have attending. Use a solid, online event registration system to get a good estimate of the number of people coming to your event. Knowing how many people are coming and generating revenue through advanced ticket sales will allow you to scale up the necessary operations and make sure you have enough on-site staff to handle the number of people.
Technology is supposed to make everything we do a lot easier though we all know Murphy’s Law and technology is no exception. In order to minimize your technology failures you should have a professional AV partner working with you at the venue. You also need to rehearse the event ahead of time. Make sure you have enough time for a run-through with your speakers or other entertainment and figure out if they expect to leave the stage and walk around or stay in one spot. Don’t stream anything from the internet. Get hard files from all speakers and give advanced notice of everything that is compatible. Test all of your laptops, projectors, AV systems and any other technologies you are using.
Your Audience Doesn’t Show
The only thing worse than the speaker not showing up is your audience doesn’t show up! The thought of having a room that holds thousands of people only having a couple hundred in it is really depressing. People not showing up are typical problems for free events as there is no motivation (or loss of money) for showing up or not. That is why it is a good idea to charge for tickets. Even a small amount for a ticket could give attendees that little incentive they need to actually show up. You should probably assume that there will be about 20% of your audience that doesn’t show up so you should either oversell tickets or create a standby list depending on your event and the venue. Also, don’t be afraid to send out a little reminder to everyone who bought a ticket so they don’t let the event slip their mind.
What Have We Learned?
These types of problems are common in the event industry, but they don’t have to be. Having an awareness of things that can go wrong gives you the opportunity to take measures to make sure these things don’t happen or, at the very least, make sure they don’t impact your event too negatively. Keep these things in mind and your event should go off swimmingly!
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