If there’s one thing I’ve learned as both an executive event producer and a mother of a toddler, it’s that you should learn to accept that the unexpected is likely to occur, and often at the worst possible time.
For all of us who are running around trying to make everything work, here are a few tricks I’ve learned to be always be prepared for anything that comes my way!.
Take A Deep Breath And Change Your Attitude
I always dread waking up to a text from my nanny saying she’s been up all night with the flu and can’t come in that day. It means instead of my stress-busting morning run, I spend my first waking hours trying to cobble together a care plan between my Dad, sister, Mom, husband and me, shifting meetings and sending a team email that I’ll be working from home to “manage” the child care parade that day.
I used to fear this like nothing else, until I learned to reframe my mindset…now instead of stressing over missed meetings, I take it as a rare opportunity to get to spend a weekday with Jack, out and about at the park, away from my desk!
By reframing our attitude when disaster strikes, we are not only better equipped to process and handle the situation at hand, but people around us also respond in a more calm manner.
Pay Attention To The Words You Use
When producing events, I often swap out the word “challenge” for “opportunities for success” and find that it not only makes people smile, but also manifests the concept of a great solution even before one’s been found.
I’ll never forget one very high profile event - it was a high end reception to kick off the White House Correspondent’s Dinner weekend, and not only were many VIP guests and policy makers going to be in attendance, we also were partnering with HBO on the event bringing added pressure (and A list celebrities!)
My team, production agency and I were working around the clock and every weekend to pull off the event and two weeks before the event, I had a strange feeling that something was awry as I hadn’t received a single email from my agency. And then it hit…
Monday morning, I received an email that the production agency had been dissolved over the weekend, emails were deactivated, documents gone, budget vanished!
Nobody on my team had ever had this happen - who could have predicted this from one of our preferred agencies?
Be Proactive … There Is Always Something You Can Do
Rather than lose my cool, and before sharing anything with my stakeholders, I worked on a solution. I called the VP of another one of our most trusted production agencies and asked if her team could take on the other agency’s team as freelancers for the completion of the event so we wouldn’t lose all the work and knowledge the team had built.
After a really long day of negotiating, they agreed, and while we lost a day ramping the new team up in their new setting, we also gained additional resources from the new agency which helped make our event even better!
What more, some of those team members went on to be full time employees for the new agency, so I was able to continue partnering with them in the future. They were not only grateful, they went above and beyond to make sure the event was flawless.