If you oversee the planning of an event, you will certainly be used to waking up in cold sweats, wrapped in what ifs, prior to the event day. Even a seasoned event planner will have a small amount of pre-event anxiety. As with any battle plan not surviving the first contact with the enemy, a meticulously planned event can still present a few unexpected challenges on the day. How you handle these in a ‘live-fire’ situation can determine your success and failure and that of the event. The most important thing to successfully handling any unexpected circumstances is to remain calm and come up with a solution fast. Some additional preparation waiting in the wings certainly helps to avoid event disaster, like a TV cook whipping out a dish “that they prepared earlier” just at the right moment.
What if no one arrives at the event?
It is tough to do anything about a low attendance or the wrong people arriving on the day. To keep on top of this from the beginning by monitoring your marketing results and RSVPS. A push may be required to get the numbers up.
What if the attendees are bored?
The fastest way to kill the atmosphere is with a seemingly endless line-up of speakers monologing to their homemade PowerPoint presentations. Keep on top of the potential information overload by being more precise about what you want from your speakers.
If you are not in charge of the speakers, then let the décor and the snacks perk the attendees up. When the speaker's keynotes are long forgotten (usually 2-3 minutes after the speech) the décor and snacks and drinks will be well remembered long after the event.
What if they run out of food or someone can’t eat from the planned menu?
This one is critical as people can glaze over during a speech or find distractions in social media when deprived of riveting entertainment, but deprive them of food or drink and you are in trouble. To keep on top of this you need to have a very clear idea of the expected attendees and the capabilities of the venues catering service. Keeping some options as a backup buffer can be an additional expense, but being over prepared is better than having to face the firing squad for cutting it too fine.