In honor of Halloween last week, we posted a blog discussing “horror stories” that can possibly happen before, during and after conferences and events. These included fire alarms going off, a speaker backing out at the last minute, attendees being bombarded with emails following the event and technical malfunctions during webinars. If reading the list made you cringe, be sure to read the following tips so you can avoid these mishaps yourself.
One way to avoid having a fire alarm or similar situations ruin your event is to think ahead in regards to how you will handle these types of interruptions. Have a game plan in the back of your mind before the event starts so if this were to happen, you can direct your attendees where to go and what to do. You are in control so when the crowd is looking to you for guidance, stay calm and communicate with them accordingly.
Back up speaker
When planning an event, it’s important to hire professional speakers who have good reputations and can be trusted to show up and deliver a great speech or presentation. However, it’s possible that your speaker will back out of the event for reasons out of anyone’s control – even theirs. One option is to offer the speaker the opportunity to present their message to the audience via live stream. Also, if possible, try planning on having an equally knowledgeable professional on standby.
Make surveys optional
Regardless of the sender, no one appreciates receiving unnecessary duplicate emails. If you’re going to ask attendees to fill out a suggestion card (a totally acceptable practice) make it optional and be sure your outreach is strategic. A good idea is to give them access to this suggestion form while at the conference, then simply email them once after the fact reminding them to fill it out if they are interested. If they want to provide feedback, they will.
Be friends with the “mute” button
If you’re hosting a webinar, be prepared to hit the mute button at any time. You never know when someone will be yelling at their dog or experiencing unwanted noise or static that would interrupt the guests’ listening experience. The goal is to have the attendees share the key messages from your presentation to their colleagues, not a funny story about someone yelling or coughing uncontrollably in the background.