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As corporate event organizers, we’ve seen it all. From weather disasters to technology failures, you’ve always got to be ready for unforeseen circumstances that might ruin your event if you don’t act.

A big part of event planning and management is crisis management. The more events you plan, the more equipped you become to think on your feet in a jam. Here are our top seven tips for handling a crisis at your corporate event.

1. Planning and Risk Assessment

Risk assessment and planning are essential first steps in preparing for crisis management. If you’re taking on the role of a business event planner, try to identify potential risks and create contingency plans to minimize the impact when unexpected challenges arise.

  • What are the potential security threats?
  • What are the chances of a natural disaster or weather event occurring?
  • What technical failures might arise?

Once you’ve identified the risks, it’s time to put together a crisis management plan that tackles every case scenario and lays out the steps to take. Event staff, vendors, and attendees should be aware of the plans

2. Communication

In event planning, communication is everything, especially when tackling an unexpected crisis. So many things can go wrong at a corporate event, so communication among all stakeholders regarding situations and updates is crucial to handling issues efficiently.

Communication might include email blasts, social media updates, and direct communication with all staff members and vendors. Make sure to have a designated point of contact (POC) for communication to keep everyone up-to-date and in the know. If there’s not one person in charge, things could slip through the cracks and/or turn chaotic in a hurry.

3. Training and Preparation

To have contingency plans and communicate effectively during an event crisis, event staff and other helpers must be trained to respond and act appropriately. Your preparation might include emergency procedure training, evacuation plans, and communication guidelines.

Part of the training is making sure each staff member knows their role in the event of a crisis and how they work into the preparedness plans. Holding drills is an effective way to ensure everybody knows what to do in an emergency.

4. Natural Disaster Plans

Our corporate event planning areas include Los Angeles, DC, and Dallas, all of which face natural disasters. Assess your area and be ready for whatever nature decides to dish out.

When planning a corporate event during seasons with a higher likelihood of natural disasters, make plans for specific emergencies. Take appropriate precautions and monitor weather forecasts in the days leading up to your event. Have backup plans to adjust your goals or reschedule your event.

Some natural disasters, such as tornadoes, give us minimal warning, making evacuation plans crucial. Putting emergency plans in place, will help ensure your guests’ safety and provide peace of mind that you did your part. Even if the chances of a disaster are meager, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Medical Emergencies

Along with mask tans and social awkwardness, the COVID-19 pandemic also gave us hyper-awareness of health and medical emergencies. As event planners, we learned the importance of proper sanitation, cleanliness, and medical emergency plans.

Medical emergencies are scary and often come out of nowhere. Without a plan, panic can paralyze us or cause us to act disoriented, which only adds to the problem. You can learn to remain calm and work quickly with proper planning, training, and preparation.

  • Be sure there’s access to medical facilities nearby.
  • Make sure to train your staff in basic first aid.
  • Have clear protocols for caring for and isolating event members who may become ill during the event.
  • Consider having guidelines for contact tracing and communicating with local health professionals.

6. Set up a Chain of Command

We all know those people who take charge like a champ during a crisis. Prepare to be that guy or gal. For starters, form an emergency preparedness team within your staff, giving each team member a specific role with clear responsibilities. This will help you delegate tasks during a crisis and ensure they’re trained to make quick decisions.

Even if you’re not naturally calm and cool under stress, setting up an organizational structure now can help diffuse the chaos from the heat of the moment.

7. Legalities and Insurance

Understanding the legal aspects of crisis management for corporate events is essential. Get familiar with agreements and contracts with venues, vendors, or other parties. These agreements and contracts might have clauses that outline policies for cancellations and other unforeseen circumstances.

In addition, be aware of event cancellation insurance, and consider purchasing it to protect yourself financially from unexpected event disruptions. Look into your insurance policies to see if they cover natural disasters and medical emergencies.

Corporate events are a great way to enhance your brand, improve employee retention, boost morale, and improve company culture. As you plan your next event, don’t leave things to chance. Taking time to plan a sound crisis management plan now can ensure that things go as smoothly as possible, even when the unexpected strikes.