Running a big event? All going a bit Pete Tong? Here are our top 5 tips on keeping a cool head when everything around you is going south, because let’s face it, invariably, what can go wrong WILL go wrong!
What can go wrong, quite often will go wrong, but try not to panic if it does or if someone has messed up. Take a few deep breaths and count to ten in your head before jumping down a colleague’s throat or losing your rag. Get your head back in gear before going off the deep end and shouting (or screaming) things you may regret later. Take a breather and get your thoughts together, then calmly come up with a plan of action. Don’t involve too many people, disasters are stressful enough without too many cooks spoiling the already curdled broth.
Fake the calm...
Sometimes, you have to fake it to make it. Ever been on a plane in severe turbulence and look to the crew to see if they’re panicking? 9 times out of 10 they won’t be (if you catch them downing a whisky and breathing into a paper bag come back to us). The moral is, you’re the Captain of this plane (event) so make it look like you’re cruising smoothly, even if you are plummeting to earth. We promise you if you keep calm and remain looking professional, most people won’t even notice.
We don’t mean to go all Oprah on you, but if you’ve messed up, it’s time to stand up, raise your hand and OWN IT! Newsflash- we’re all human, it happens, so take some accountability. Don’t try to blame the intern or the girl at the front desk who was too busy on Tinder. If it was your mistake then be honest with yourself and others. Selling others down the river won’t make anything better, and it will come back to you anyway. Stand tall and don’t run scared.
Act fast and efficiently
Your keynote speaker hasn't turned up, the conference centre is flooding outside (dinghy anyone?) and the speakers have blown up. Yes, things may seem beyond repair but they definitely aren’t. Think fast and act quickly and your back-up plan may turn out to be a great (yet unexpected) part of the day!
Don’t air your dirty laundry
Remember that time there was a huge row at a conference between organisers and the video went viral on Twitter… yeah that. To be blunt- Try not to air your dirty laundry or let other team members or show attendees know that there is a problem. More importantly, whatever goes wrong, DO NOT get into a slanging match during the heat of any disaster- put simply, there is no time for that and it looks super unprofessional. No one wants to witness the wrath or overhear someone getting a major dressing down. It’s not a good look…Wrists can be slapped and repercussions can be felt after the event. Right now, you need to keep cool and make the disaster management appear seamless and calm…
Crises are often unavoidable, it is the way that they are dealt with that is the difference between a successful event and a disaster.
If you're interested in learning more about managing crises at your next event, listen to our podcast!
By Lucy Saxton
Lucy Saxton is a journalist, content creator, social media advisor and broadcaster. Studying Criminology at Leicester Uni and completing an MA In print Journalism at The University of Sheffield, she began her career as Features Editor of the popular teen girls magazine, MIZZ Mag. More recently, Lucy has worked for Cosmopolitan Magazine and Seventeen Magazine. Lucy was previously a Journalist at M&IT Magazine which saw her travelling around the world and launching several social media channels for CAT MEDIA. Lucy is a regular travel correspondent on BBC radio.More articles by Lucy Saxton