Organizing an event always sounds like it is going to be more fun than it ends up being. There’s no problem with the event itself – that’s going to be fun and everyone is going to be talking about it. It’s the organizing part that’s the tricky bit, though. Even if you’re a strategy whiz, there’s still part of you that feels like you’re playing the swan. Serene class where people can see it, working frantically below the surface.
The thing about planning an event is that you can do everything right, plan it down to the last detail, and then something throws a spanner in the plan. It’s frustrating. When NASA flew men to the moon, they planned everything down to the finest details, but Apollo 13 still happened. Sometimes, no matter what you do, something or someone ends up letting you down.
- Don’t Panic
The first thing to keep in mind is that every social situation can be salvaged. If something has happened to put a wrinkle in your plans, that’s where Plan B comes in. If you haven’t made a Plan B, then you need to improvise. Remember there is always a fallback option. So if the venue cancels the event, find another venue. Host it at home if necessary. If a caterer falls through, make some calls.
- Have A Trusted Lieutenant
Even the greatest leaders had their consuls, their generals, their minions. It’s understandable when you are the one whose rep is on the line that you want to be in control. But delegating is what makes countries, wins wars and builds businesses. In a party emergency, you may need to explore two or three options, and there’s only one of you. Having someone on hand to help will sort out issues faster.
- Negotiate Like You’re Solving World Peace
When things go wrong, the most important thing is that they get put right as soon as possible. The key to negotiating something is not ruling with an iron rod. It’s not flattery. It’s finding the way to get what you want at the best price. Your wholesale linen tablecloths haven’t shown up? Make some calls. Offer future business, open an account, do what it takes to get a deal. If all else fails, play the sympathy card. It often works, but not if you come right out with it. Confidence is key.
- Be Prepared To Get Your Hands Dirty
It might save time and money – both essential in an emergency – if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and do some grunt work. Moving tables, getting in the kitchen, even carrying some trays around. You may not like the idea of doing this – that’s OK. You can always ask someone else to do it on the promise of owing them a favor. Just remember to turn the charm up to 11 when you ask.
So many people think that the only way to get things done right is to rule by fear. It may well work for some people – but smart people know it’s more about pushing the right buttons. Planning an event and riding out a snafu take more than one approach.