In your personal life, last-minute changes often yield fun surprises: an unexpected trip, a visit to the movies on a day you were hoping for sun, or a music substitution for an opening band that turned out well. But in your professional life, last-minute changes are the things nightmares are made of.
For event planners and organizers, the days and hours before an opening ceremony of an event in Singapore are the most stressful parts of the experience. Even if you planned well and followed your strategy through and through, there’s always the potential for something to go wrong just before the event starts.
Whether you’re experienced at being an event planner or not, you’ll inevitably have to deal with a little last-minute chaos. In this article, we’ll offer some tips to minimise the madness as much as possible, along with some advice to handle it when it happens.
1. Set Expectations in a Detailed Contract
The first line of defence to protect against last-minute changes is iterating the specifics in a contract along with language that highlights any late changes that may significantly affect the cost and the ability to adhere to the selected event date.
Everyone at the table must understand that changes have implications and most of those will jeopardize the schedule of the event services. Set the parameters early and be specific with how it will alter the deliverables. Often, they’ll want the changes anyway but at least you’ve set expectations. After you do so, the following can help you handle last-minute changes effectively and professionally.
2. Don’t Agree to Anything When You’re Creating
Many event organizers in Singapore love the creation phase, envisioning how they will pull things off and sharing their visions with the client. This part can be extremely intoxicating but it’s also the worst time for clients to ask for changes.
You’re in the zone, and everything seems possible, but don’t fall into the trap of a client suggesting changes and you agree to them. At this stage, you’re extremely vulnerable because you’re co-creating and it feels good to have someone make suggestions. But those suggestions can become costly nightmares if you agree without thinking it through.
Be aware at any time during the event planning process when you’re sharing visions or concepts. Watch for the zone and when you’re there, don’t agree to things on the spot. Take it back to the office and think about what those changes will do to cost and time for you and your team.
3. Don’t Give In to the “We’ve Come So Far” Idea
Event planners in Singapore often give in to last-minute changes even during the opening ceremony of the event because they feel they are in the home stretch and it’s easier to acquiesce at that point than to make waves and risk not having a good experience with the client. This is referred to as the “sunk cost effect” when people refuse to give up or walk away because of the resources already invested.
While it wouldn’t be professional to walk away from an event at the last minute, you shouldn’t feel afraid to push back due to your current level of investment. Explain what this change will do and how they are jeopardizing the event by insisting on it.
4. Don’t Feel Obligated
Your clients pay our bills so there’s frequently an imbalance of power when they request something from you. As an event organizer, last-minute requests take you by surprise and then you feel obligated to follow the “customer is always right” idea. Instead, look at this request as a conversation starter, not as a command. What is it about this change that is so dire and where did it come from? Understanding the answers to these questions can help you figure out a compromise that will give the client what they want without jeopardizing the event. This will restore some of the power you feel in saying “no.”
Then realize that they hired you for your professional skills and abilities. Just as a good manager should not want to be surrounded by “yes” men, a client should value what you have to say like an event planner professional. To handle last-minute changes, you need to feel empowered as the professional you are.
5. Know When To Be Silent
Any career counsellor will tell you that when hunting for a job, the first person who mentions money loses. The same applies to event planning. You needn’t fill every moment of silence with talk. When you have an unfair request from a client, talk about what they’re looking for by parroting it back to them “If we execute the opening ceremony during that season in Singapore. Are you prepared for that?” Don’t feel the need to fill in space. Let them consider the option as they’ve presented it. When they give you their answer about whether they are prepared or not, you can further illustrate the implications of those changes if they said yes and the other options if they said no.
The most important thing to remember is you can’t avoid all changes. The trick is to have a process in place for minimising their impact when they do occur. Thankfully, technology makes it easy to communicate changes across your event.
Being an event planner in Singapore will always have its stresses, but anticipating and heading off those predictable last-minute changes can help you keep your cool when the heat is on.
If you are in need of an event service in Singapore for your next big corporate event, visit our website and let our experts help you with your business needs today!