Preparing for any event can be a stressful time – especially with the uncertainty of what unexpected challenges may arise during event week that are out of your control.
At LW Event Consulting Ltd we’ve experienced a number of unexpected challenges, including:
The tail end of a hurricane causing torrential rain and flash flooding on a 100-mile mass participation cycling event;
Suspect packages and firearm incidents on the event route or adjacent to it;
The collapsing of a brick wall adjacent to a half marathon route in a key spectator hotspot; and
In excess of 40-degree heat for an elite 200km UCI WorldTour Race & Mass Participation ride.
These are only a few of the challenges that we’ve faced, but we believe that by getting the basics right, you will be available to focus on solving any unanticipated challenges should they arise. That’s why when we’re close to any event delivery we take a step back and ensure we’ve followed our four golden rules of preparedness. Some of these may seem obvious to some, but we’ve been involved in many events where one of the below has let an individual down and the event has suffered because of that.
1. Spend time pre-event making sure you’re happy with your plans and documentation. Putting in the hard work prior to the event delivery will ensure you have a less stressful time on site, and you can start the event in the knowledge that the plan is in place and the hard work has been done. I personally always make sure all work has been done before I step on site, this means over the event period I am available to help with queries, check the event is being delivered according to plan, and help solve any unforeseen problems. This also means there should be no long hours in the days leading up to the event, and that on event day, you’re mentally and physically fresh and ready to focus on delivering the plan you’ve put in place.
2. Brief your suppliers, staff & volunteers. Without spending the time thoroughly preparing your briefing documents, and setting aside face to face time to share the information in sufficient detail with your key suppliers, staff and volunteers, they won’t be given the best opportunity to deliver what you need from them and your detailed planning time will have been wasted. You’re reliant on your suppliers, casual staff and volunteers to deliver your detailed planning in the way you need to, in order to deliver a successful event. Make sure you do everything you can to give them the best opportunity of carrying out the tasks to plan.
3. Check and double-check anything you’re unsure about. Asking for someone else’s opinion to crosscheck how you plan to tackle a specifically challenging element of the event or any specific issue you may have - is not a sign of weakness. I’ll repeat that - checking something with another colleague IS NOT a sign of weakness. A fresh mind can often bring a fresh solution, a solution that sometimes you’ve been too involved with the problem to realise yourself. This will also give you peace of mind that the plan you have in place is indeed the correct plan.
4. Be helpful. Always be available to help others with any unforeseen issues - you never know when you’ll next be in their position and in need of a favour. It’s also important to note however, that although you should always be helpful, don’t risk the quality of what you’re responsible for, by working around the clock. If you’re well rested and in control, you’ll be better able to assist others in their hour of need and to go that extra mile on event day.
As event professionals, we truly believe that there is no excuse for being unorganised or underprepared during event delivery. Remember, not only can this affect the safety and standard of delivery for your athletes and/or participants, this can also reflect badly on you, and the staff and volunteers you’ve recruited to help you deliver the event. By taking a brief step back and making sure you follow these simple steps, you should be ready for a safe, successful and enjoyable event delivery period.