By Tim Bartleet, general manager, In & Out Club

It’s helpful to know how to deal with any last minute problems that may crop up when organising an event; Tim Bartleet, general manager of the In & Out Club shares some top tips for avoiding event disasters right from the outset.

Build a relationship

It sounds obvious, but building a relationship with your client can be all too easily overlooked in the pre-event rush. Go beyond the simple ‘meet & greet’ and you’ll reap the benefits later down the line. Take the time to really get to know them, get a sense of their event and, importantly, run through all the key logistics. This should give them, and you, peace of mind and will flag any confusions at a stage early enough to do something about it.

Read the situation A simple example – you’re running a big wedding and you’ve just heard the registrar’s stuck on the A4 somewhere. Rather than inform the stressed bride, risking a bridezilla style transformation, have a quick word with another of the immediate family and assure them of a seamless adjustment to the new timings.

Keep in contact We’re not suggesting secret service-style updates every five minutes – remember that the client is often there to enjoy themselves as well – but eye contact, occasional check-ins and simply being visible will all do the trick.

If in doubt, check with Chef There are always consequences and, when it comes to food, they can be disastrous.  But don’t despair – an experienced events chef knows the tricks of the trade. Informing them about delays, or that extra table which has appeared from nowhere will ensure there are no nasty surprises (and you’ll avoid the prospect of that exquisite soufflé starter falling flat).

Expect the unexpected That annoying cliché about ‘best laid plans going awry’ exists for a reason. Little snags will crop up. Take a moment before everything gets going and anticipate the crunch-spots and how to deal with them.   This might help you avert problems in the first place, but it should also give you a stock of options to draw upon if needed.

You’ll see that most of the tips relate to good communication – this is really the only ‘secret’ to avoiding disasters and keeping clients happy – but if the worst does occur then keep calm and work out your options before talking to the client.  If the client is unhappy be proactive – a simple gesture like complimentary wine or champagne is extremely effective and can nip a potential dispute right in the bud.