Handling Last-Minute Changes to Your Next Meeting Like a Pro
The past few years have taught us many valuable lessons. And one lesson of particular importance to meeting and event planners is to expect the unexpected. When it comes to corporate meetings and event planning, adjustments are constantly being made throughout the planning process, no matter how long or short the booking window is.
And as most planners know, the day of the event often has unexpected hurdles that must be overcome. But with proper planning, a great team (or a few awesome helpers), and well-laid backup plans, events can still execute flawlessly, at least in the eye of your attendees.
So, where do you start?
1. Find Helpers and Let Them Do Their Thing
Some might say event planners like to be in control (not us, of course!) But let’s face it, you can’t control everything. If you want things done well, then you need to delegate. And the best way to delegate is to hand off a project vs. individual tasks. Share with helpers your vision for the event, and the scope of work for their assigned project, and let them do their thing. Check-in occasionally to ensure things are moving along but don’t micromanage. It takes less time to fix a problem that comes up as compared to micromanaging everything they do. And isn’t your plate full enough?
2. Take As Much Help as You Can Get
The bigger the event, the more hands you’re going to need. Beg, borrow, or steal but find people that can pitch in a little or a lot. Whether they can only help with set up or clean up, every extra person can make a difference. Brainstorm in advance all the help you can recruit to ensure the event goes off smoothly. And don’t forget outside vendors who will manage an entire portion of your event, such as catering.
3. Save Up For A Rainy Day
Last-minute issues at a meeting or event can be costly. And without extra money marked in your budget, you might not be able to afford the help required to solve these unexpected problems. So set aside additional funds at the beginning to cover those sudden emergencies to ensure you can pay for the needed last-minute help.
4. Create Checklists and USE Them
The final days leading into a big office meeting or corporate party often mean endless details racing through your mind. Don’t let that happen. Instead, create checklists – either with an Excel document or on your mobile device – to track all the details. You know that last-minute critical item that woke you up at 2a you SWEAR you won’t forget? Guess what… amid everything, you probably will forget. So save yourself the frustration, create thorough checklists early on, and add every time you remember something important. It will reduce stress and ensure important details are handled.
Congratulations. The day of your event is here, and you’re ready to go! But how will you handle the almost guaranteed hiccups that occur?
Here are a few extra tips:
Focus on Today: If you’re like many busy planners, this event isn’t your only one. But when it’s the day of, focus on the event du jour only. You can pick up where you left off with the others tomorrow.
Resist Last-Minute Changes: We’ve all had the client or boss who had a brilliant idea last night that they want to implement today. And maybe it is brilliant. But unless it’s easy, save it for next time. Trying to execute last-minute changes will likely do nothing more than cause additional headaches. And potentially impact other details.
When All Else Fails: Sometimes, things just go wrong. And no matter how hard you try, it can’t easily be fixed. Be professional and honest and own it. And then move on. You have plenty of other things to focus on, so just keep doing your job.
Planning a corporate meeting or event is more hectic than ever before. But these steps should help reduce some pain from the last-minute issues that will undoubtedly arise. Delegate as many details early on as possible. Then, you’ll be glad you did on the day of your event! And don’t forget to stay calm and breathe.