Special Events

SHOW-STOPPERS

IN THIS ISSUE, we bring you our annual wrap-up of The Special Event show in Miami, another blockbuster slate of education, exhibits and events. On behalf of everyone at Special Events Magazine, I give my congratulations to the extraordinary team of sponsors, volunteers and staff who dreamed up and — harder still — pulled off this extraordinary program.

Our wrap-up story, which runs from pages 24 - 46, will give you a glimpse of much of what happened in Miami in January. All of the events that our attendees enjoyed were testaments to the skills of talented, dedicated event professionals. But I think that one behind-the-scenes story tells just as much about what event pros can do.

Right before one of the events (I'm not going to tell you which, because the memories are probably still making the event producers wake up at night screaming), I was told that a major entertainment sponsor for the event had to cancel the day before. The event team, of course, was up all night phoning, pleading, scrambling, scheming and all the other tactics event planners must resort to when it comes time to “make alternative arrangements.”

So I was curious: Would there be some obvious gap in the event's flow? Would the event seemly oddly short, or strangely disjointed?

And the answer was, absolutely not. I had no sense of something out of place or an experience that was somehow a bit thin. I enjoyed every moment of the event, and I had to remind myself later that the event planners had faced a crisis only hours before. But there wasn't a hint of this crisis come show time.

This reminds me of some of the immutables of events, the rules that hold true no matter whether your event is corporate or social, big or small, your first or one for which you've lost count.

First, no amount of planning will prepare you for every surprise. But planning helps you anticipate what might go wrong and think about alternatives that can bail you out later.

Second, no relationship is so loyal that, despite the best intentions, a partner won't let you down at some point. But having loyal relationships means you have other partners to turn to when the worst happens.

And the worst happens. The food burns, the tent leaks, the dancer trips, the power cuts out. But event professionals serve something else, fix the leak, keep the lights moving, switch to another generator.

And deliver a thrilling event.

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