5 tips for if your event starts nosediving
I've run my fair share of events and learned a lot about making a great gathering. And with More Human, we've built a service for you that removes a lot of the risk and gets you ready for the big day. But what if during the event things start going a bit squiffy?
One of the responsibilities you have as a host is to be calm when things go wrong, and it's useful if you run a few scenarios in your head for the worst things that could happen (we can help with Risk Assessment templates if you want to go all in but it's not a necessity). Then file them in your brain so you don't worry about them and can get on with enjoying the hosting experience.
Over the years, I've started building not only a worst-case scenario filing cabinet in my head but also a real-life little bag of 'must-haves' that I take to any event I'm running. It contains things like USB memory sticks, a few laptop-to-TV connectors, basic stationery, string, wire, glue, tapes (pretty ones and practical ones), hooks, pegs, and paperclips. It gives me a quiet confidence that I can sort anything small. But not everything can be fixed with fabulous gold tape. (I'm speaking from very recent experience here after my almost washout 40th Birthday picnic this weekend.)
We spoke to Community Event Organisers who shared with us their biggest fears and panics in the run-up to an event, and then we ensured that help with those challenges was built into our service. But still at the 11th hour, things can go awry that we have no power over. But we can give you the confidence to get through them and turn your event into a success, or at the very least a great learning experience. Coming soon we will also have a WhatsApp service for our members so you can message us for help or advice as part of your support package.
Event Nightmare 1: You have to make a last-minute venue change
The ultimate event nightmare, especially if you're new to organising. In this situation you should:
☕ Have a cuppa and breathe: It's tempting to jump in and try and sort it immediately but honestly 5 minutes won't make a huge difference to your options but will clear your head enough to make an informed, well-thought-out choice.
🏫 Speak to the venue: Find out if there is an alternative space in their venue or if they have any contacts at nearby spaces.
✅ See if you're covered: lf you have business or event insurance check to see whether it covers cancellation or change of venue.
📃 Dig out the paperwork: Check your contract with the venue to see where you stand on things like deposits or compensation.
Once you have a new space sorted (we'll be positive here and imagine they have another room you can use) there's a couple of things that would be useful for you to do:
📢 Announce the change: If you're a More Human member you can send messages via the tool to everyone to let them know about the new location. If you're not, reach out to your group however you normally get in touch.
✂️ Be prepared: Make sure for every event you're prepared with the following printed bits and bobs on separate sheets of paper or card: your group logo, the event name, a set of letters in a font that's clear to read and some arrows. If you have an arty streak feel free to make these a bit fancy, as long as they're still legible. Also, bring some plain white or coloured paper and pens for making extra signs. These will be invaluable when it comes to creating off-the-cuff signage.
🗺️ Experience the change yourself: Put some notices up at your old venue explaining the move. Then, if your new location is close, walk the route from your old venue to your new one. Where there are turns or options use your arrows and other printouts to guide the way. (Make sure you take these down at the end of the day.)
Event Nightmare 2: No one shows up
I'm sure most of you, like me, have had actual nightmares about sitting there on your own watching the door intently and getting excited every time you think you hear someone coming in! I once get very overexcited when a cleaner walked into the room. It's not good for the soul to put so much work, blood, sweat and tears into an event that no one comes to. But remember it's highly likely to have happened to most people at some time or the other so don't let it get you down.
With a More Human membership you get all the benefits of our team knowledge and the genius of our tool which creates everything for your in-demand event, to give it the best chance of success. And with our new 'hand's free' offer in development, soon as a member you could simply WhatsApp or email us to get a morale-boosting pep talk and some practical advice about what to do differently next time.
If you're not yet using our service, at the very least try and take RSVPs before the date so you have a sense of how many people might attend as people are largely much more unreliable at showing up when they don't have to pay anything or attendance is a loose commitment.
Event Nightmare 3: Your group are too shy to talk (or worse, they've become too cliquey and don't bother talking to new people)
Be ready with an easy game that can be whipped out of your pocket and done slowly over the period of your event if you feel that people aren't bonding. Put people into groups rather than letting them choose. Break up big, confident cliques so they'll need to get to know and work with new people throughout the event but still have time to hang out with their friends. A great game for this is '2 truths, 1 lie', really simple and the group need to work together to achieve the answers.
There's nothing greater than watching relationships start and a quick way to connect people is putting them into tribes. Coloured wristbands relating to something specific (i.e for a book club you could base it on their preference of book genre) gives them a commonality to use to start conversations.
Event Nightmare 4: You need to call in 'the troops' but you're worried about losing control of the quality and vision for your event
If you have volunteers helping you and there's a particular way you want things to be done, take a little bit of time to make clear notes before the event so you can hand over tasks easily. If it's a creative or visual thing and the way it looks really matters to you then mock it up at home before the big day and take a photo for your volunteers to follow. It sounds nerdy ... scrap that ... it IS nerdy, but you'll be the one laughing when everything looks gorgeous.
More Human members can get help with finding volunteers and we can also set you up with accounts for them and templates to guide them when creating events.
Event Nightmare 5: No one seems to be enjoying themselves
If you've planned an event and it seems like no one is enjoying it, it can feel very personal and hard to remedy. But there are several steps you can take to try to salvage the situation and improve the overall experience for your attendees:
👁️ Observe and listen: Pay close attention to the reactions and body language of the attendees. Are people engaged, or do they seem disinterested? Are there any common factors that might be causing their lack of enjoyment?
❔Ask people: Simple but effective. And criticism can provide valuable insights for improving the event in the future.
🙅♀️ Adapt on the fly: If you notice certain bits of the event aren't resonating with your guests, consider switching things in the moment. This could mean changing the schedule, modifying the activities, or altering the overall flow of the event.
🎤 Mix things up a bit: If there are a couple of you hosting switch up who is doing the talking and you might find the energy peaks.
👍 Get feedback: At the end of the event, ask attendees for feedback in a non-confrontational way. Use this feedback to improve future events and understand what worked and what didn't.
I'm hoping that by sharing this It'll mean none of it ever happens to you (I'm touching wood as I type!) If you want to reduce the risk of your events going into freefall the More Human team would be delighted to have you as a member. Tell us about your challenges here and we'll get you set up with our clever tools and expert advice.