Ensuring effectiveness of events

Updated on: Mar 30, 2011
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One of the apparently less dramatic chapters in The Event Manager's Bible: The complete guide to planning and organising a voluntary or public event ,' revised and updated third edition, by D. G. Conway (, is about ‘strip down/ clear up.'

No matter how well organised the event, there will be litter, the author notes. And he reminds that in negotiating for the use of the site you agree to leave it in a tidy state after the event. “Some landowners demand a deposit from an event organiser that is returned if the site is clean, but retained and used to tidy and repair the site if that has not been done to their satisfaction.”

Urging, therefore, event managers not to leave a mess and instead look after the site well, Conway mentions one other convincing reason: That you may want to come back and run the event next year, especially if it has been a success, in which case planning and negotiation for next year's event starts here!

Clearing up

Written in an instructive style, the book advises event managers on the how-to of various sub-tasks in clearing up. For instance, when the event has closed, and stallholders begin to transfer their stock to their vehicles and strip down their stall, all you have to do to help them is to give them easy access to the site, guides Conway. “If you have not agreed with them that they remove all their own rubbish from the site, make sure that rubbish skips are available for their refuse. Wherever possible make stallholders and exhibitors responsible for removing their own litter from the site.”

Importantly, with the busy confusion of stripdown, when everybody is far too busy to bother with what is happening even a short distance away, security is a major concern, the author underlines. “It is far too easy for a truck to arrive and load up with valuables such as stock, generators, a display exhibit, or a stallholder's trailer or caravan, etc. They depart with the general flow and then the legitimate owner of those goods suddenly realises that they are gone, forever.”

Health and safety

In the intro, the author exhorts experienced event managers to consider the changes that have taken place in their domain over the past few years and update themselves.

He traces how, not too many years ago, event planning and management had two basic functions: first, renting a big enough field; and second, collecting the money. “That has changed in the last few years and the emphasis is now on health and safety, management and control, licences, authorisation and permissions.”

Conceding that people are usually sensible, a chapter on ‘health and safety' warns that though several people together are often sensible, a crowd can be a wild animal. For, sensible adults in a crowd will sometimes do what in retrospect is a really stupid thing. “To see their pop idol or movie star, people may try to dodge through several lanes of fast traffic, climb along building ledges, or balance half way up an electricity pylon. Once one person does it, somebody else will have to climb higher or go further to get an even better view.”

The apt message for event managers, hence, is to ensure that risk assessment considers all the vantage points and puts in place control measures to ‘prevent the bold or stupid from taking dangerous options for a better view.'

Recommended reference for the ‘event' professional's shelf.

Published on March 30, 2011

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