Avoiding Disaster: 5 Crisis Management Tips for Event Day

In your mind, there’s no way event day will be anything short of perfect. You’ve crossed the T’s, dotted the I’s, arranged every detail and slated every activity down to the minute, and then it happens… something doesn’t go according to plan. Perhaps the florist is late, a guest goes rogue and drama ensues, or maybe one of your key staff fails to show up on time. Or it could even be Mother Nature. No matter what the crisis, the important thing to remember is to pause, take a deep breath, and follow our 5 tips for Crisis Management on Event Day.


  1. Cooler heads prevail – When drama is going on around you and things seem to be in danger of falling apart, our best advice is to not let it show. Others can react to the situation, but as the Event or PR Manager, you must keep it together. Doing so shows your clients and guests that you are capable of handling the situation. You may be having a meltdown on the inside, but on the outside you must be cool as a cucumber. There’s a solution to every problem, so you must stay calm and figure it out. You only make matters worse by becoming frazzled.
  2. Isolate the situation – If something does arise, don’t let that affect your whole event. Make sure any issues stay contained to low traffic areas of the event, away from your guests. The key is to make sure your attendees feel as if everything is going perfectly even if there are behind-the-scenes glitches. That doesn’t mean you should hide problems that need to be addressed, but if something is going on that other guests do not need to be made aware of, make sure you are the one dealing with it, not your guests.
  3. Stay connected – If things go south, it’s important to keep all staff and volunteers in the loop. Prior to the event, everyone should have the event and venue manager’s cell numbers (assuming you don’t have radios or other two-way communications on-site). Should something go wrong, you must be available to take care of business. The same goes for event staff as well as volunteers, who should all stay connected during the event.
  4. Let others be your eyes and ears – You can’t be everywhere at once, so don’t even try. Designate a few key people to be a “mini you” in each area of the event. Ensure these individuals know your expectations and are capable of keeping things under control. This will also help with post event evaluation, since that person can provide in depth feedback on what worked and what didn’t.
  5. Have a plan – Chances are you won’t be able to anticipate everything that could go wrong, but you should definitely try. While you are planning the event, think of potential problems you could run into on event day and have a basic idea of what you would do as well as backup plans. For example, volunteers could fail to show up on event day, so plan to have a few extra people on hand to help out.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy watching the hard work you put into your project or event fall into place. We hope these tips will help your day run smoothly.

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