Last week, a project that we've been working on since September 2013 culminated with a charter bus trip to Washington, DC. All of the planning in the world could not prepare me for what took placed during the trip.
When I make the statement, sh*t hit the fan and fell on my head last week was an understatement. There were issues with vendors; the charter bus was pulled over twice by the police; the air conditioning on the bus broke down on the return trip home; there were issues with the hotel; others on the trip had traveling issues and people didn't want to fulfill their part of the contracts. Let's just say that I am glad to be home in one piece after this disastrous trip.
Although the stress of the trip and the challenges got the best of me a couple of times during and after the trip, I learned five very valuable lessons that I want to share with you all. All of these lessons build upon the other and can hopefully help someone avoid these issues:
1. Listen to your intuition/ gut- with our hotel vendor, I had some apprehensions with this hotel prior to us actually traveling to Washington, DC. Since January, we went through four separate sales managers and each time we spoke with someone new, there were new "rules" in play. We were unable to get a straight answer from the staff, and when problems arose, their answers were "I don't know what happened." I had a strong inclination that we should have chosen another hotel property after the first sales manager left and it took over a month to determine the new point of contact. Looking back, I should have listened to my gut feeling because it would have saved me some headaches and lost sleep.
2. Don't put your full trust into others- most times when you really need someone to come through, they don't and often leave you holding the bag. This is especially true with friends and family, many times its unintentional- but it causes financial issues for you just the same. Referencing Tip #1 about trusting your intuition- listen to it the first time- it can keep your blood pressure down.
3. ALWAYS have a back-up plan- I live off of contingency plans, and it's always good to have a plan A, B and sometimes C when Tip #2 occurs. Thankfully, when things started going awry, we had some back-up plans to help alleviate some of the discomfort and issues that occurred throughout the trip. Although I was stressing out, everyone else continued to enjoy their trip and proceeded as planned. Consider everything that could possibly go wrong and plan your contingency plans backwards from there.
4. Keep your contracts with you at all times (especially if your event is off-site or out of town)- Again, I learned this lesson a LONG time ago. Whenever you have an event, purchase a plastic envelope from the $1 Store and keep copies of ALL of your contracts and important pieces of correspondence with you during your event. You never know when you may need to reference this information or remind a vendor of their end of the contract. If I didn't have my contracts on hand when issues arose, we would still be arguing with vendors. Consider this envelope like money- never leave home without it.
5. Try to keep calm and keep it professional- As much as you may want to yell, scream, throw things and perhaps catch an assault charge, it's important to remain professional when dealing with these issues. I know I would have liked to done each of these things at any time throughout that trip, but I also know that acting out of character would have made the situation worse. In addition, it's hard to get concessions and allowances out of people when you're acting like a donkey. Therefore, it's far better to kill them with kindness and your pen than to fly off the handle and make yourself look stupid. There is a professional way to make your concerns known to the staff. Reference those contracts you brought with you and refer to that contingency plan, but whatever you do, keep it professional. I learned that lesson well before this trip, but I had to be extra careful because you never know who is actually watching you and your reactions to a situation.
So there you have it, hopefully these 5 tips will help you when sh*t starts hitting the fan!
Sharing Is Caring!
When was the last time sh*t hit the fan for you? What did you do when everything seemed to go awry? Please feel free to share!
©2014 by Tillman Davis Enterprises. All Rights Reserved. Garrysa Caffey, MBA | Event Planner, Speaker and Author for Nov8ive Events & Designs. Learn the trade secrets that event planners use to create successful events. Join us today and get our free eBook “The 7 Costly $ins that Can Ruin Any Event”. Visit www.nov8iveevents.com and fill out the form.