Stuff happens. You have a perfect plan for your conference or event and then the first attendees start to arrive …
In a perfect world, everything goes exactly as planned.
- Registration is seamless.
- The caterer has everything prepared.
- The attendees don’t have any special requests.
- Everyone mixes and mingles comfortably.
- All enter the main hall and get seated in advance of the official start time.
- The main speaker arrived a few hours early and did a sound check confirming that all A/V details are perfect.
- All other speakers arrive on time and have no special requests (or demands).
- Lunch is perfect. Even the vegans were complimentary.
- The afternoon session goes off without a hitch.
- Attendees say, “I can’t wait until next year’s conference … you over delivered … and I can’t believe the registration fee is so low!” as they cheerfully head home.
And then you wake up and realize you were dreaming. Today is the conference. Time to get out of bed and see what kind of stuff will happen.
- The first attendees arrive. Stuff happens.
- One of the speakers is late. Stuff happens.
- The caterer forgot the (fill in the blank). Stuff happens.
- Yada, yada, and yada. Stuff happens.
Planning conferences and multi-day meetings takes a lot of time and preparation. Murphy and his Law will be one of the first guests to arrive. Something will happen. But as an event professional, you deal with it. You have a great plan and you have a few contingency plans. You make up the rest on-the-fly.
If you’re lucky, you’ll hear about problems quickly and can resolve them while they are still molehills. If you’re listening to your attendees, molehills won’t become mountains.
It’s a challenge to keep both eyes and ears on what your attendees are experiencing … and at the same time put out fires and implement contingency plans. But as an event professional, that is what you do. And do well. And love.
Are you listening to the attendees?
This post was originally published on SpeakingGump.com on November 10, 2015.
It has been updated and edited to appear here on ChangeByGumption.com
Communicator, Forrest Gump lookalike, Strategist
– Brand Ambassador, Change Agent, Speaker, Writer
– Gump-like Messaging, Simplicity, Values
– Big Picture, Bottom Line, Visual Mapping
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