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Event organisers have lots of things to accomplish in pulling off a successful event and some tasks are more attractive than others. Looking at venues or choosing entertainment or food can be much more appealing than having to look at event insurance, contracts and risk planning.

But event risk planning plays a key part in the success of an event and I believe it deserves to be made a priority as event risk is integral to overall event design. At one particular conference a firework display was part of the opening night activity. This was fine until someone realised just how near the delegates were dining in relation to the firework release area. It was too close and there were a few close shaves. But it was more by luck than risk planning that a serious injury didn’t occur.

I understand that events operate in a highly competitive arena in which creatives are pulling out all the stops to make their event experience engaging and stand out from the crowd.

Is ‘engagement’ a passing fad? Absolutely not after all events can hardly go backwards. Event apps and I am thinking of the meteoric success and growth of Pokémon Go help encourage people to get involved and participate in activities whilst out and about. Is there a risk involved with these apps and games, yes there is. So what does an event organiser need to do? Well firstly to be aware of the relationship between activities and risks.

In my opinion the need for risk management to be looked at from all angles has never been greater. But this doesn’t that creative engaging exercises have to be wiped from the event. What it does mean is that event risk planning should be embedded into the overall planning and management of the event.

The good news is that once you consider risk you can find all sorts of ways of dealing with it. But it needs to be faced and looked in the eye. You cannot run away from it, you cannot just delegate it to a junior or try to bounce it off to a suppliers. The risk you bring to an event is all yours and as the organiser you have to understand what that means and what you can do about it.

If you don’t take event risk management seriously it will find a way of biting you. You could find you have signed a contract that requires you to take on additional liabilities that are outside the scope of your insurance policy. Whoops, the insurance company will leave you to sort out your mess. You could have contracted a supplier that has no insurance. Whoops, you are left with trying to sort out a tricky situation and keep your reputation in shape. Or you have bought your delegates to a dangerous part of the world without realising the consequences. Whoops, now the mountain of people to reply to about the welfare of their loved ones has just added to your pile of paperwork and phone calls.

Taking you event risk seriously will save you time, money and reputation. In other blog posts I will look at this in greater depth but I can assure you of the pain I have seen event organisers go through when event risk planning has gone wrong. It is not something that I would wish on any event organiser and hence this blog –  is to highlight some of the key risks and measures you can take.

See Also

Event Risk Management Principles

Risk It! How to Run Great Events and Live with the Risk


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