January 20, 2014
When Rain Ruins the Program
Freak storms, and weather events have been turning great hopes into broken dreams from coast to coast. Events have been cancelled, and it seems like all anyone can talk about is the weather. While, at times, some of that is avoidable, you never want to open the paper or turn on the news and when they start talking about your event, hear them lead with the weather. But, even a well-planned event can end up playing second fiddle to Mother Nature if you don’t have a set contingency plan that includes both messaging and solutions.
Have a Plan and Prep for It
Hoping that everything works perfectly and the day of your event is absolutely beautiful is well and good, but that should never be where you stop thinking. You must prepare for certain foreseeable and potential mishaps. These could include too many or too few people or changes in the weather. Any of these scenarios could create a public relations issue. You need to stay a step ahead of it.
Make Sure your Leadership is on Board
While the buck stops at the top, the responsibility should not. Spread out the responsibility and put certain key people in charge of various contingency plans. Then, if and when those situations happen, the media, as well as your guests, will see your leadership step up and solve the problem. This will make your organization look good, top to bottom.
Deliver Better Soundbites or Headlines than the Weather Can
This last step comes down to two things: how well you can communicate and how fast you can deliver that message. For most people this takes solid preparation. You need to have a message prepared just in case the weather sours your original plans. Remember, the media will be present regardless of the weather and they need a story whether or not it is the story you planned to give them. If all doesn’t go according to your plan, the only thing they will have left to talk about is what only thing left they have to talk about is what DID happen. Make sure you are in a position to control that as well.
Plan ahead and hope for the best. More than anything else, stay on message…and be sure everyone else does, too.