One of Tony Robbins’ events had an EPIC FAIL a few years ago when 21 people suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns while fire walking. It doesn’t happen often but, if you organize events, sooner or later you may encounter an embarrassing moment or an event planning failure. Fortunately, most event failures don’t involve permanent damage – just bruised egos.
No event is immune to unforeseen circumstances. And, there can be setbacks during all types of events ranging from conferences and business meetings to weddings and galas. Decorations, tents and awnings can fall; laptops can crash; stand-up comics, speakers and panelists can slur inappropriate or insulting comments.
The key is to be prepared and react appropriately if something goes wrong.
Lessons Learned From Event Planning Failures
It’s important not to have tunnel vision and to learn from all the events you plan.
Here are some (sometimes funny) videos of event failures.
Reason #1 to use a professional wedding planner to handle the wedding cake!
Fireworks can add that WOW factor to your event, but what happens when they don’t go off as planned?
Or, what do you do when one of the waiter you hired spills a drink all over the guest of honor? (Watch The German chancellor’s reaction when it happens. It looks like she wants to tear into him, but flirts with the cameras instead! Classic political move!)
It’s Important to Keep Things In Perspective
7 Tips To Take When You Experience An Event Planning Failure
- Have a back up / emergency plan for every event.
- Ensure your whole team knows the back up plan, and include key clients too – if or when necessary.
- If you are taking part or planning any high-risk activities (i.e. extreme sports), make sure emergency personnel (first-aid responders, police, ambulance, etc.) are on standby. You may not need them all on-site, but be sure to have their contact information with you.
- If something goes wrong, begin damage control right away! This could involve getting people out-of-the-way, administering medical aid or putting out fires (sometimes literally!).
- Don’t be defensive. Appoint a team member to deal with any media and be honest about what happened.
- Conduct a post-mortem (term used for follow-up after each event. This should be done for all your events so you learn, even if nothing went wrong) to uncover lessons learned.
- Apologize, repair damage and compensate if necessary. This could involve refunding all or part of a fee, giving refunds, issuing credits, paying to repair property damage, covering dry cleaning expenses, etc.