Keep Calm In A Storm…

By Nadine Zrinzo…

A tip for Event Management Students:

A lot can be said for how an Event Manager handles a crisis. Let me warn you from now, you will be putting out fires all over the place, especially whilst you are onsite and actually running the event.

As event management students you are being equipped with a multitude of resources, processes and techniques to enable you to put together great events. You know that being well organised is a key pre requisite and let’s face it you are good at it.

However, no matter how organised or great you are, you will not have control over everything and everyone. Something is likely to stray from your original plan. So the trick is to be flexible, prepared and to keep CALM.

Cool … just breathe and listen. Resist any temptation to say no, or be disrespectful to anyone

Aware … gather all the facts

Logical … work out a solution

Move … implement your solution

Events are made up of people: clients, participants, suppliers, stakeholders. Your role is to deliver a successful outcome for all involved.

As soon as an issue arises, panic tends to be a default emotion, making people aggressive or angry, often at you. At this point you need to keep Cool, calm and collected. Do not get angry back, even if the request is illogical or the person annoying. Ask everyone to calm down and to explain what the problem is, enabling you to be become Aware of the facts. Remember that you are a professional and need to act as one.

Once you have a good understanding of what the issue is, work through a solution Logically. You are the one in control, who has all the answers so you need to negotiate your way around an amicable solution. As soon as you think you have an adequate response to the issue Move to implement it.

A simple example: I was managing a conference and exhibition recently where the keynote speaker (and major sponsor) was unhappy about the stage set up. The speaker approached the client, who unsure of what to do, passed the problem onto me.

I could have just said no, sorry we can’t do that, it is too late. But that would have left the speaker/sponsor with a bad taste. So instead, I made a couple of calls, got consent to pay for additional equipment and escorted the speaker to his newly set up stage. Everyone was happy and the solution cost a minor fraction of the sponsorship deal so was worth implementing.

Keep in mind that your clients might not be aware of what can or cannot be done. Just resist any first instinct to say no and work to find a solution that satisfies the most needs. It will help turn you from a good Event Manager into a great one!


With years of experience in producing events across Europe, the US, Asia and Australia, Nadine brings strong research, business and project management skills to the art of conference management in order to design relevant and commercially viable events. Her initial focus was on programme development and speaker acquisition, eventually moving onto providing full conference services including venue sourcing and management, event marketing, financial management, speaker and delegate management and other operational requirements.

Nadine manages a boutique conference management agency in Australia called Bright Conferences –

Author: Mike Granek, MBA, CSEP

Michael Granek, MBA,CSEP,PID is a successful entrepreneur and an award winning event producer with two decades of experience in the special events and entertainment industry as well as in business. Michael brings a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree with Management Consulting specialization, a Diploma in Adult Instruction (PID), and is an internationally Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP). For a complete bio, please visit:

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