When events go wrong – how to learn and plan for the unexpected

Annie Hayes Reporter, C&IT
When events go wrong – how to learn and plan for the unexpected

Crisis management can help planners and event organisers to prepare for the unexpected.

A cancelled flight, a power outage, a miscommunication on hotel room reservations, delegate cancellations, natural disasters and technical hitches can all wind up as a disastrous event. Here’s our guide on how to ensure these unplanned occurrences don’t escalate and spiral out of control.

Conduct a risk assessment: Identifying any potential hazards is a key part of outlining what could happen. Risk assessments can accurately predict any operational, health and safety risks that may occur. At an event this may entail security, contractors, suppliers, and temporary staff issues to name but a few. Unexpected weather conditions may also impact the ability of delegates to attend or the ability to entertain large numbers outside. With big groups, it’s important that crowd control risks are further evaluated, and emergency evacuation procedures are analysed. Security is a key concern and it’s important that secure non-public entrances are monitored closely. All these potential risks must be recorded with a plan of what to do if any of these eventualities occur.

Use effective communication: Establishing the best forms of communication both to staff and key stakeholders is critical. This may be multi-faceted with specific channels for red-alert communication threads put in place as additional platforms for crisis management. Specific media alert templates can be crafted in advance and be ready for immediate release, together with an ‘out-of-hours’ spokespeople team, should that be required. Social media tweets and posts will need to be controlled to provide consistent messaging and to re-assure any affected parties of next steps and who can be contacted for further questions. Preparing ahead for these emergency situations is advisable.