By Jane Kramer
In our last post, we posed what sounded like an algebraic word problem: How do you manage 81 event professionals, based in 65 cities, living in 17 states, staffing more than 41 events? We answered by sharing tips for preparing event staff prior to event execution.
In this post, we’re sharing a few of our favorite suggestions for a well-prepared and supported staff when you’re in the throes of event production.
Don’t make stuff up!
Someone is bound to ask you a question on a pre-event call for which you do not have an answer. Don’t fudge the details or make up an answer. Tell your teams not to either, especially when working with participants and volunteers. Incorrect information, guesstimates, and speculation only lead to confusion. Instead, find the applicable (correct) information and communicate it when you have it.
Take a site tour.
When your team gets on site, take the time to do a site walk-through, pointing out special circumstances as you go. Invite any stakeholders to join you (e.g., we include our clients). Site tours are a great way to get a sense of the event as it will unfold, and may inspire questions that haven’t yet been addressed.
Chain of command: know it, follow it.
No, we’re not running a military operation. But we are running an event with lots of moving parts and probably at least one or two surprises. A clear chain of command – who talks to whom, about what, and at what point – is one of the most integral pieces to ensuring a team functions efficiently no matter what happens. Within the chain of command, specify who is responsible for what kinds of decisions (e.g., who makes a call about bad weather). The chain of command flows down to and through volunteers, as well, so don’t leave them out of the picture.
Communicate wrap-up and load out plans to staff before the event starts.
The end of an event can feel a little undefined and/or occasionally chaotic. To be most efficient with time and energy, make sure your staff knows – in advance – what the pack-up plans are and when to begin those tasks. Not only will you be maximizing efficiency, but it makes clear what comes down a little earlier and what stays up until the participants have all gone home (so you don’t compromise participant experience!)
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.
Communicate (some would say “hammer home”) the need for flexibility. To quote one of our event managers, “Sometimes there are more surprises, sometimes less, but always some.” Detailed communication of expectations, plans, and logistics combined with the expectation of flexibility will go a long way in turning a surprise into a success and toward creating a successful event overall.
As we stated in the closing of our previous entry, these aren’t the only ways to work with your team on an event, and we’re sure you have a few tricks of your own. Regardless, we hope these ideas inspire you to think about how you prepare one of your most critical event assets: your staff. For our part, we’re excited to hit the road again in 2017, solving algebraic word problems as needed and making awesome happen. See you out there!
This blog series is brought to you by the collective wisdom and combined experience of the Event 360 Event Production team and one writer crazy enough to take on the task of aggregating their best practices. For more info about our team, click here.