Mastering Event Management: The Essential Art of Having a Plan B

Yesterday, my laptop went kablooey….. right out of the blue, it decides it does not like working for me anymore and is going on strike. No warning, no nothing. Just stopped.

Now, I don’t worry because, of course, I have a backup; I have a plan B. This leads me to my point: you should have a plan B for every event program you produce or even think about producing.

So, what does having a plan B mean? It means that you have walked through the entire (let me say it again..ENTIRE) event timeline and have had a discussion and understanding of the actions that you will take if the situation does go south.

Every member of your team should be in on the conversation. Take each piece and say, “If this, then that”. Make sure that you leave no moment out; and start with setup, and go all the way through tear down.

Make sure that you know what you are going to do if the caterer does not show, the keynote speaker is delayed, or the heavens open up with a deluge of water. You should know what you will do if an attendee falls, becomes ill, or hates the food. What if there is a fire? What if the power goes out or the band gets stuck in traffic? Have attendees traveling on two buses, then you should know what you will do if one breaks down. Please don’t wait for the moment to decide unless it is imperative.

One of the most important pieces to being a successful event planner is having “plan B” in your back pocket so that it looks as seamless as it can be. If you know what you will do, then you will panic, and neither will your attendees.

Ask any great meeting and event professional, and they will tell you they have had major failures, problems, and issues at their events. It is how they overcome them that makes them stand out and rise to the next level.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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