Event Tips: How to Bounce Back From a Bad Event
There’s no getting away from it, your last event was a complete disaster. But while it might feel like career suicide, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong job.
In fact, it could be your biggest learning opportunity. With the right attitude and approach, you can turn things around and make your next event a huge success.
Now that you’re down, here’s how to bounce back.
Be Honest And Don’t Blame
You and your colleagues are bound to feel disappointed that your event didn’t go to plan, but it is very important not to play the blame game.
While it is useful to know what went wrong, pointing the finger at someone (even yourself) isn’t going to make things right. In fact, it can make it much harder to work well together.
It’s time to have an honest talk about what went well and what went wrong. Make sure you acknowledge BOTH aspects of the event, as there will have been some positives. Give yourself some credit!
At the same time, don’t try to pretend that nothing went wrong. If things didn’t go well, burying your head in the sand won’t help.
Neither will taking criticism personally. Successful events work well for a lot of different reasons, some of which are outside your control.
Remember that learning from your mistakes will make things better next time.
Sometimes when things go wrong, people complain. Even if you or your colleagues are not to blame for any problems, it is very important to handle complaints professionally.
Make sure that anyone who complains is listened to and taken seriously.
Whether the complaint is in writing or in person, it is a good idea to acknowledge the complainant’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with their point of view.
For example, if someone is unhappy with the catering options it is professional to say, ‘I’m sorry that you feel disappointed with the food.’ You don’t have to apologise for your organisation.
In fact, sometimes you might find that by acknowledging their upset the complainant will admit their part in the problem, and together you can come up with a solution.
Being professional can be tough, but it can really help in the long run. Many clients will continue to work with you after a poor event if they recognise how well you handled complaints.
A great way to begin talking about what went wrong is to imagine for a second that someone else had planned the event. What would have been your honest feedback to them? What advice would you offer someone else in that situation?
Note down your ideas, and talk about how you can put them into practice next time. All the things you’ve learnt will help you and your team improve.
Be Clear What Success Looks Like
When you reflect on your event, think again about what it would have been like if it had been a success. Success criteria depend on the purpose of the event, so it’s good to be aware what success looks like.
It’s also important to remember that success is NOT just bums on seats, although of course good attendance helps!
If you were hoping for an engaged audience, think about how you can measure that. Would it be the number of social media posts, a roomful of happy sponsors, or positive feedback from speakers?
Discuss some new ways to measure success, and see what you can put into practice for next time.
Once you have created a new strategy to move forward, make sure you share and celebrate these solutions with your team.
Bringing everyone together with a sense of renewed purpose and optimism will be a great foundation for your next event.
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