There's nothing more frustrating than putting a lot of time and money into planning an event only to have something go wrong. But, as we all know, it happens — ALL THE TIME! Whether it's a small misunderstanding about table settings or a technical issue with the soundboard, people will make mistakes and problems will arise. Your job is to remain calm, adapt, problem solve, and communicate.
So, how do you show your event management skills when things go awry?
1. Have patience for people and issues
Tensions can be high as your big event approaches, which may cause you to react to things in a less than ideal way. (We get it. We're all a little stressed before hosting big events.) But don't let your anxiety about event details get the best of you. If something goes wrong or someone makes a mistake, do your best to stay patient. Don't forget to pause and give yourself a minute to process the information (or take a few deep breaths) before jumping right into the action.
2. Identify the problem
Issues can arise anywhere, from the wrong color linen napkins to an upset team member. No matter what the issue seems to be at first light, take some time to identify what the real problem is. It can be easy to jump in and immediately try to solve problems or suggest solutions, but it's important to trust the experts and look at the bigger picture. The best solution to a problem might require a quick brainstorming session or a walk around the block. At the end of the day, a solution is only helpful if you're resolving the real issue at hand.
3. Understand that everyone has a different communication style
Everyone has a different personality and communication style, and it's important to understand how you give and receive information from the people around you. Not everyone sees communication styles in the same way. For example, someone who is more “Type A” can be seen as bossy and direct by some people but seen as organized and in control by others.
Learning about different personality types and communication styles will help you read people more perceptively. And you’ll be able to avoid or quickly defuse difficult situations. It's important to understand what makes your team tick before you get into a stressful situation.
4. Determine who needs to be involved and their level of involvement
Not everyone on your team needs to be involved in every detail of your event. It can be helpful to ask members of your company or team how involved they want to be. Determine who needs and wants to be involved early on.
For example, some people may become frustrated when they feel out of the loop while others might get frustrated if you're constantly communicating when all they wanted was to remain detached. Clarifying this ahead of time will satisfy everyone in the long run.
If and when issues arrive at an event, make sure that you are clearly delegating tasks and solutions to your team. This will help get things done quickly and efficiently while minimizing confusion.
5. Remember, you're all working toward the same goal
As we said, tensions can be high when event planning. But if you find yourself getting frustrated, remember that you're all working toward the same goal — to host a kickass event. There's no need to butt heads or point fingers. In fact, that will only make it more difficult to host a fantastic event.
If bigger issues arise that need to be addressed with your team, make a note to yourself on your phone or email that you can follow-up on after you've made it through your big event.
6. Make sure you're easy to work with
When you are looking for ways to resolve a problem, take a second to make sure you're not contributing to the problem. If you are starting to feel stressed or overwhelmed before or during your event, it can be all too easy to vent your frustrations to the people around you. Remember, your team relies on your ability to keep your cool when things get hot.
So, whether you're planning your first or 150th event, remember to use your event management skills to keep calm, adapt, problem solve, and communicate with your team members in order to pull off a stellar event. You've got this!