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The Show Must Go On! Surviving the Flu Season as an Event Professional


- contributed by Brad Gibson, Director of Marketing & Business Development: Active Production & Design.

It's that annoying time of year, the time when we can expect the impending seasonal illnesses; the sniffling, nagging cough, fever, and all the other symptoms the NyQuil commercials do a good job of rattling off effortlessly. We are equipped and ready to stay far far away from any colleagues that are exhibiting signs of being ill. However, this year is anything but typical. Illnesses, specifically the flu, are at record levels and the news is quick to inform of us of the grim statistics and plethora of ways we are going to be caught in the crosshairs of communicable disease. It's enough to make you want to board yourself in your home with reckless abandon like an episode of "The Walking Dead". But we all know that if there were indeed a zombie apocalypse we would still be somewhere in a corner scribbling on floor plans, figuring out seating arrangements, and returning client emails all while fighting off hordes of the undead. We're event professionals. We are the very definition of "the show must go on"- a phrase we begrudgingly embrace in this field we love. And knowing this as a fact, here are some quick tips to be prepared for the show to go on, even when you can't:

1) The Plan B & C: Hopefully you've heard of the "hit by a bus" scenario. This is the rather morbid analogy of you suddenly being taken off the playing field, and where your responsibilities are delegated. As event professionals plan B's are important, specifically in educating our colleagues and co-workers on the logistics of what needs to happen. Everyone needs to be on the same page as early in the process as possible.A good rule of thumb in general: Nothing show-related should only be living in your brain. Keep notes of preferences, protocols, and any details that could even remotely be a factor in the success and implementation of your event. This will relieve stress on you and whoever has to pick up the slack left in your absence. Also discuss a plan C, if at all possible, because we know that sometimes even the Plan B can get thwarted.

2) Transparency AND Professionalism with Your Client: We get sick. It happens to everyone, including your client. It's ok to be transparent (to a degree) if it comes down to it. There are many times when we have personal struggles going on in our lives that our client does not need to know about, and you don't need to transfer any unneeded stress onto them. However, when you're sick, it's often difficult to hide it. You might want to consider limiting your correspondence to email if possible, and if that correspondence is replacing a call or in person chat, you can explain that you are under the weather, and there's no reason to elaborate on the subject any further than that. But keep the lines of communication open and give them the confidence that everything is completely under control. If for some reason you do have to talk to your client and it is obvious from your voice that you are under the weather, keep the topic off of your being ill as much as possible and keep the energy focused on their solutions and the success of their event. Also consider delegating phone and/or in person correspondence if you can. We recently had a conference call and the client was sick, but had a colleague join the call to talk about specifics and ask questions because she barely had a voice. However, she was still on the call just to listen in. This gave everyone the confidence that she was invested, but kept the conversation from straying to her being sick.

3) Rest is a Priority: Prioritize what absolutely requires your time and energy. You'd be surprised the number of tasks in your day that can wait. And unfortunately, in our industry, there are some things that just can't wait, but the more time you can give yourself to rest and take of yourself the sooner you can be being the professional "cat herder" that you are!

We can all be insanely busy this time of year, so be sure to incorporate preventative habits to keep yourself healthy and hopefully ward off getting sick in the first place. Vitamins, supplements, rest, and WATER! These are just as important when you're feeling your absolute best as they are when you're out for the count. Hopefully with a routine of eating smart and being proactive with preventative measures you won't have to deal with the dreaded "worst case" scenario.But when it does happen take heart that while what we do is important and can often seem like the end of the world, the show will, in one way or another, go on. But you won't be freaking out, because this time you'll be prepared.

Do you have tried and true tips on how to be prepared in the event you are unexpectedly taken away from work? Feel free to drop us a line at

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Saturday, 04 April 2020