We pride ourselves on running seamless events. But now and again things haven’t quite gone to plan.
During this recent period, we’ve reflected and reminisced on the in-person event days. With some (now humorous) moments and mishaps being remembered.
Our very own Anders Swaffield shares five memorable moments.
1. Delayed and cancelled trains.
Maybe the most unsurprising. Definitely the most frequent. Particularly when you have to rely on the country’s most inefficient train service. There’s been many close calls when travelling to some events.
One occasion whilst travelling to London for a Twickenham Business Club event comes to mind. A few stops into the journey the train was cancelled due to a blocked train line, with no prospect of the train moving again anytime soon. A frantic 30-minute (felt like 2 hours) Uber back to the office to grab the car followed.
Against the odds, a clear drive up the M23 and around the M25 meant we made it to the event just in time to set up before any attendees arrived.
2. A mid-event fire alarm is bad. A fire alarm during the guest speaker is worse.
Ah, yes. Picture this: you’re hosting an event with 40+ people, everyone’s focused on a gripping guest speaker. What’s one of the worst things that could happen? A fire alarm. What’s the only way it could get worse? It’s raining outside.
Thankfully it was a false alarm, the venue were brilliant and no one was affected. We got the event back on track again.
It was a first for us, and hopefully the last.
Ironically, the Managing Director of the company that had installed the alarms at the venue was there, making for an easy conversation starter.
3. Microphone cutting out midway through guest speaker.
Anyone who has done public speaking will know it can be incredibly difficult. You can prepare all you like. Spend time practicing in the mirror. Rewriting what you’re going to say and trying to force yourself not to stare down at your notes. ‘Controlling the controllables’ you could say.
We are the same when it comes to preparing for our guest speakers. Test, test and test again. Make sure the technology is working. Screen. Projector. Microphone.
Our biggest fear? The microphone cutting out. Mid-speech. In a vast room with 130 people. Thankfully the speaker had a projectable voice and we were saved (just).
4. Forgetting to bring to an exhibition, then someone (me) travelling to said exhibition with said banner. Only to then leave it on the train.
So, the story goes. I wasn’t scheduled to attend this exhibition back in 2019. But the team who had made the early morning trip there accidentally forgot one of our banners. Not the end of the world. I could go into the office, get it and meet them there.
I was tasked … I say ‘tasked’, I was simply asked to take one banner from A to B. Due to a train fault (see point 1 for relevance), I had to change trains en route. An irritating but small problem. Oh no.
It was only when the train I changed onto was pulling off that I realised I’d left the event banner on the other train. Going in the opposite direction. Bound for a very different destination.
We needed a new banner anyway … I think.
5. Car crash on way to Kia Oval.
Probably the most traumatic of the them all. The day before we were travelling to an exhibition in Reading, we were hosting a Network Oval Business Club event at the Kia Oval. We were around 20 minutes away from the stadium heading into London. Naturally traffic was slow.
The car behind us got impatient and decided to try get past to make headway. The gap barely big enough for even half their car’s width. A couple of seconds later … CRASH! They’d gone straight into the back of Bradley’s car.
After exchanging details and returning to the road it became clear there was something wrong. The impact had bent the car’s wheel axis and was barely drivable. Exactly what you need when needing to drive to Reading after the event.
With an abundance of equipment and an overnight stay in Reading that evening, Bradley spent the most part of the event coming in and out (I’m still not sure to this day any attendees knew) dealing with insurance and rental car companies to arrange a replacement.
The upside of this for me as a passenger? The courtesy car was a Jaguar. The downside for Bradley? It was twice the size of his car and he had to navigate it through central London and then to Reading. Luckily, we made it unscathed.
You might be asking yourself why we’ve written a post highlighting potentially detrimental times to the business. It’s simple: sometimes things will go wrong. People will be unimpressed. You may lose potential clients.
But it’s important to not let one bad moment negatively affect your wider performance. In our case, we’ve dealt with each of these issues as professionally as we could and ensured every other aspect of the event was as good as it can be.
Why not come and try an event out for yourself? We can’t promise it won’t feature in another ‘times it’s gone wrong’ article. But we will try our best.