Picture this. A Public Relations/Marketing team sits in an adjoining corporate meeting room waiting in anticipation for the client to give approvals for arrangements of an upcoming event and the budget. The ‘go’ decision finally comes down! Hurrah! The event expenditure and concept are approved and the team bursts out of the starting blocks in a manner that would make Usain Bolt smile in admiration.

Folks, this is just the beginning. Probably even the easy part, because much emotional energy is going to be spent before all can really feel reasonably confident of success. It turns out the team has to make some urgent changes after revisiting the plan and subsequently consulting with the client who once again has to approve. The missing component, so frequently ignored is a well-thought-out backup strategy. A backup strategy is commonly known as a contingency plan, in most cases, is looked at when the initial plan fails. It is what you do when the initial arrangements begin to unravel for one reason or another.

We can think of a back-up strategy as more or less the safe zone or best alternative.
Every business should have one to mitigate any calamities that might occur. In everyday life, it is the reason many wouldn’t travel upcountry without a roll of toilet paper. Putting your eggs in one basket is too risky because anything can happen. It is true some would view a backup strategy as an indicator of weakness or lack of having the most optimum option on the table. But even the best strategies at times fail and that is why alternatives are a necessity. Let no one mislead you; it is difficult to have a seamless event. Odds are something could go sideways and a backup strategy could save the day. Imagine if your Guest of Honour calls in at the last moment to inform you ‘state duties’ mean they cannot make it! Or turns up a good two hours late after a string of assurances, “we’re on our way!”

What are your options?
As an Events Manager/Planner you need to urgently plug in an instant solution that can fill in the missing gaps. And a word to the wise, increasing the background music in the conference hall is not always your ideal answer! Back-up plan strategies help to increase confidence all round. When an Event Manager is calm, collected, and confident they tend to release positive energy from which everybody else picks and most importantly the client.

A backup strategy should be relevant in the mode of execution so that it doesn’t appear like an afterthought. In many circumstances, these alternative strategies can even be used as the main plan for any future events. That is why the strategy should be intentional. When they are intentional they give a detailed sense of direction and also indicate that you are a forward-thinking manager. Now that’s a skill every competent Events Manager must have.

About the Author: Immaculate Namanda

Immaculate has a solid grounding in account management. She knows the market, with skills in strategic positioning, media and client relations together with project coordination and management. Prior to joining WMC Africa, she headed media relations, brand positioning, strategic writing, CSI initiatives and events management at the Alam Group.

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