The sound system breaks. The printer ink runs out. The speaker’s flight is cancelled. The catering is late. The event programs are still in the home office. The registration line is out the door. The attendees are complaining about the temperature of the meeting room. The bathrooms are backed up. The event signage is portrait, and the sign holders are landscape. The power goes out. The battery light on your phone is red, and you can’t find the charger.
Have you ever experienced any of these event frustrations? You’ve planned. You’ve prepared. You’ve organized. Yet, there’s one thing that creeps up unexpectedly (or in many cases, lots of issues arise), and the way you react can have a domino effect over the course of your event.
Here are three things I have learned throughout my time as an event planner:
- Expect the unexpected. When dealing with people, places and technology, there are so many things out of your control. When unexpected issues arise (and they undoubtedly will), pause and think logically about how best to take your next steps. Your team will follow how you react to the situation. If you are calm, cool and collected, your team will follow suit. If you show a sense of frustration or panic, it’s likely your team will respond in the same way. While you cannot predict the unexpected, you can expect it will happen.
- Don’t let a surprise ruin your event. Embrace creative ways you can respond to the unplanned situation. Once I was at an outdoor concert when the power went out. What could have been a quick cancellation with angry concertgoers turned into a very personal, acoustic session with the band sitting on the edge of the stage that was unforgettable. See how you can turn the unexpected into something even better. Like the concert I attended, it might just turn out to be one of the most memorable moments of your event.
- Pray for grace for the moment. Perhaps the most important thing you can pray for yourself before an event is that you will have grace for each and every moment. Pray you will react to every situation with grace and love, kindness and gentleness. Moments will undoubtedly come that test your patience – either with a guest, a team member or the event facility staff. Pray others will see Christ through you in every encounter you have.
When it comes to event planning, you can’t control many outside circumstances. However, you can control how you react to them. By preparing yourself to expect the unexpected, embrace surprises and show grace in each moment, you will find the event much more enjoyable!