At my internship today, I was given the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s (PPRA) luncheon. After checking in and eating lunch, we listened to a panel to speak about “Murphy’s Law: Memorable Moments and Lessons Learned from Special-Event Superstars.” The panel included:
Jim Cohn (Moderator) – Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine
Keeya Branson-Davis – Penns Landing Corporation
Lisette Bralow – Philadelphia Folksong Society
Danielle Cohn – Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau
Scott Mirkin – ESM Productions, Inc.
Susan Norcross – Cashman & Associates
They shared their stories from a torrential downpour and flooded pier for an outdoor orchestra, a hurricane happening during an outdoor folk festival, and a zoo having to evacuate everyone, while animals were screaming in the background. Balloons and confetti were dropped from the ceiling, before the dinner was finished, resulting in confetti in all of the drinks and a complete mess all over the dining room. Looking back on those experiences, everyone laughed. But when it was happening, they weren’t thrilled at all.
Here are a few tips they gave while having an event:
- There is a very fine line between Murphy’s Law and negligence. Safety always comes first. The only time Murphy’s Law should happen is days prior to the event, when all of the preliminary checks are being done.
- Always stay professional, no matter what the situation is.
- Always keep your service consistent. Your client is your top priority. You must go out of your way to make everything run smoothly.
- When handing out a media kit or any kind of readings, keep it simple. Only give the top points because that’s all people want to know about. They should only need the “who, what, where and when.” They should already know “why.”
- Read every single contract that is involved in your event.
- Everyone involved needs to be on the same page. Make sure everyone is informed so information is consistent.
- Always have back up. The amazing Phillies World Series parade? Even though it was planned in less than 48 hours, there were back-up tractor trailers on the streets surrounding the parade route, just in case something happened.
- Trust who you’re working with.
- Consider rain insurance…seriously. Have reservations for a tent, just in case.
There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that happens during an event, and you always have to be prepared!