Keeping your head when everyone else is losing theirs


Eight hundred expectant (and more importantly paying) guests from all over the globe, an expertly lit conference space, five sponsors and a presentation that is spectacularly failing to play.  

So, what do you do? Sponsors are furious, your boss is glaring and the guests are eyeing up the bar.

You could run.  You could pull the fire alarm… always a tempting idea even when things aren’t caving in around you. You could point the finger at your AV Company, but that’s the coward’s way out and as an event manager the buck stops with you. 

 In the words of Freddie Mercury, the show must go on.

As a fledging conference producer this happened to me and I quickly learnt the importance of a back-up plan. Thankfully I had another machine to hand and with the help of more experienced staff, the five eternity-feeling minutes were filled with a little patter from the MC as I frantically changed wires with a kind South African technician named Nevil.  The second machine worked and what felt like a disaster to me didn’t warrant a second thought from the guests.

Having a plan B is essential in nearly all aspects of event organisation.  

Your collateral turns up and it’s the wrong colour: no worries! I have a second supplier that I have already spoken to in broken French - this is Morocco after all. The transfer company has gone to the wrong airport, all good! I’ve got another on speed dial.  The Northern Line is down and the house band is stuck. Well ok not ideal, tell them to get a taxi and I’ll grab my bongos in the meantime.

Events are a fantastic way to promote your business or launch a new product; they can invigorate customers, excite stakeholders and get people talking about you and your company. However for the team organising them, pressure and stress can sometimes get the better of individuals.

 A simple speaking event can quickly become a scene from a John Carpenter film when the wrong type of microphone turns up. As an event manager it is essential you keep calm and come up with solutions rather than problems.   Things are always sorted out in a more controlled way when they are not rushed and you take the time to think.

At Ridgemount PR we have been lucky enough to organise events for our clients and more recently ourselves. Learning from the past has meant they have all run smoothly but never think an event will go perfectly. Plan for every eventuality, have an ace up your sleeve in case of an emergency and it always helps to know a kind South African called Nevil.


Charlie Webb
Account Manager, Ridgemount PR

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