Managing events onsite can be invigorating when things go right, and frustrating when things go wrong. As an event manager you are supposed to be on the ball, having planned every last detail of your event. Yet, details fall through, and issues can arise that make you want to hideaway in your room to await departure day. But departure day isn’t here yet, and that leaves you to hanker down and do what you need to do to make sure that your meeting ends successfully despite its flaws. Here are a few tips to help you stand strong despite the challenges that you may face while onsite.
Keep your tools nearby
Having the tools to access the information that you need while you are onsite managing your event, is very important. Sure, you can bring out your big binder with color tabs, but having mobile access can make all the difference in the world. Regardless of your preference, make sure to have access to important documents like emergency procedures, contact listing, and contracts. Find a system that works for you for important note taking like a writing in a small notebook or typing quick notes on your mobile device. That way you can refer to your notes easily when you get the opportunity to follow-up.
Know your players
Knowing your contacts is an intimate part of managing an event onsite. At times, knowing the right personnel to go to at a venue can help you in more ways than one. If you are working with certain contact for your event, make sure that you are aware of that schedule for the duration of your event. If your contact(s) will be out during your event, secure the appropriate backup person in case you have a need while they are out. Precon meetings at hotels are very informational and insightful into key department managers during your event, and it is a great way to communicate your needs to everyone at once.
Be apart of the solution
Onsite, there will be some challenges. It doesn’t matter now meticulous you might have been during the planning process, things will rarely go flawlessly. Regardless whatever challenges may arise, make sure that you are apart of the solution. Offer your opinion and participate in brainstorming sessions if the need arises during the program. If you find yourself a member of an onsite team, and not particularly in the lead, make sure to support your lead planner by helping and and going over and above when they need an extra hand.
Follow-up on problems to ensure they are done
It can be unnerving when issues and tasks can mount up high. When you are running around taking care of immediate tasks it can be easy to prolong tasks that might take a little more time. Make sure that you follow-up on all problems. Don’t procrastinate on smaller problems as we all know they can turn into something much bigger. Take notes, and make sure to reconcile all loose ends as soon as you are able.
Never let them see you sweat
When things go wrong, everyone is looking to you to throw on your event manager superhero cape. Sure, we are experts and always have a plan C,D,E, and even F. However, sometimes there are situations that make you just say WTF? Situations that you couldn’t even imagine happening to you or your event. When these trying times come about, try not to let everyone see you sweat. Even if that means crying in a bathroom stall or going to your room to have your psychotic meltdown. When your clients, teammates or your attendees see you anxious, then they will get anxious and start to stir things up. On the other hand, if they see a poised, calm, event planner, they will be aware of the issues, but trust that you are handling it to the best of your ability – and how valuable is that?
Don’t just stand there, do something
When you are onsite things are going to happen, stories are going to unfold, and you will be left standing there. Don’t stand too long. Show your value and expertise by fostering a sense of service. This is were us event planners excel the most. Many amateurs run away when it comes to problems onsite, not wanting to deal with the issues or even afraid to. However when your internal stakeholders or clients see that you can execute flawlessly onsite without shedding a tear, they are bound to trust you to want to be apart of their onsite experiences again.
I would love to hear about your onsite experiences with your programs. Any of them stand out? What did you do to be apart of the solution and not the problem?
Photo credit: Jeff Sheldon