Questions to Ask When Planning A Meeting: Assess Risks Now
By Christy Lamagna, CMP,CMM, CTSM, and James S. Rota
Have you heard people say they’re a right-brain or left-brain thinker? Right-brainers tend to be creative and instinctual, left-brainers more analytical and logical. That’s how Beauty & the Brain was born. James Rota’s creativity meshes with Christy Lamagna’s strategic thinking to bring a well-rounded approach to events. These columns are designed to highlight both sides of the planning process. Read on for questions to ask when planning a meeting: assess risks now.
From the Beauty
Many issues in the event business are unique to our industry and, even more so, unique to each type of event we produce. Regardless of the size or nature, your event can be challenged by anything from security, safety, and financial and legal issues, to unforeseen disasters of the man-made or Mother Nature variety. To ensure your event’s success, you must manage all of these possibilities properly and nip any problem in the bud.
Not all risks are as obvious as foul weather, medical emergencies, delayed flights, terror threats or power failures. Sometimes unknown risks lay dormant and unseen — until they strike.
One of your best risk-management weapons is the ability to think quickly on your feet, always keeping the safety of guests and staff a top priority. After all, what will impact your attendees more, the pyrotechnic show starting five minutes late or that fire broke out because you were rushing?
When managing risks, don’t try to do it all on your own; the more eyes the better. Teach your staff to observe their surroundings and to report anything that is a possible threat to the safety of any attendee or the event itself.
Finally, you and your staff should follow all regulations and practices in your best attempt to eliminate or lessen any associated risks.
From the Brain
Identifying risk starts the moment you confirm you’re planning a meeting and must remain top of mind until the final bill is paid. Here’s a checklist of things to consider:
- What is the weather at your destination typically like on your program dates?
- What is the airlift pattern? Can you avoid putting all your executives on one flight?
- Are you confirming what competitive or incompatible groups are in-house on your dates?
- What kind of attrition have you negotiated? Did you build in a resell clause?
- Do you have a travel-advisory threat built into your force majeure so that if the threat level goes to a certain color you don’t have to host your program?
- Have you confirmed with your banquet manager that all food will be clearly labeled no matter how basic? Food allergies can be deadly and many people don’t pay attention to what they’re eating.
- Do you have event insurance?
- Are you paying attention to Americans With Disabilities Act codes when doing you room sets?
- Are your stage sets fire retardant or fireproof?
- Do you have your speakers make multiple copies of their presentations and designate someone to carry all the backup files?
- Are you taking time to go over all the important details with your audience/speakers/executives/talent? Assume nothing.
- Are you scheduling daily meetings with your team to discuss the next day in detail so they can be ready for whatever is thrown at them?
Bottom line, it’s up to us to think of it all and be alert on-site. Risks are only a challenge if they get ahead of our preparedness.
If you’d like more suggestions on how to identify and prepare for risks, email me at: Christy.Lamagna@strategic.events
And until next time, remember, smart is beautiful.
Tags: Planning A Meeting? Assess Risks Now, Events, Meetings, Corporate Events, Corporate Meetings, Planning, Event Planning, Event Planners, Strategic Planners, Strategic Events, Plan Your Meetings