Top 5 Conference Disasters

In the event planning industry, you get used to putting fires out. But the true test of an event planner is whether you can put the fire out without people knowing a situation arose at all! Thanks to Murphy’s Law, it’s pretty much a given that something you don’t expect to happen, is going to happen. No matter how prepared you are, you must always be ready to think on your feet, think outside the box and act fast. Over the years, I have to say the team here at FTF has mastered the fine art of squelching flames before they spread. So we thought it would be humorous to put together a list of our top five best “I can’t believe that happened” moments to share with you.

5) No Construction Zone
At an event in Chicago, we had a conference well under way when a construction crew arrived in the lobby with their hammers and paint! They then proceeded to start building a wall! To cut a long story short, it is possible that one, 5’ 3” female can make seven intimidating construction men stop what they are doing and retreat…

4) Water Main Break
At an event this past year, we arrived at the venue at 7am to find there was a water main break on the site. Therefore, no bathrooms were available… not an ideal situation when you have 100+ attendees arriving within two hours. So, we began to crack the whip and hustle the repair process along as fast as we could. Miraculously, we were able to have everything fixed by the time registration began and no one caught wind of the problem! Whew!

3) The Sandwich Stealer
At one event, it was noticed that a rather thin man seemed to have a hollow leg and ate several plates of food. It was later discovered that he arrived with a backpack full of Ziploc bags. Why, you ask? So he could fill them with sandwiches and desserts being served to the attendees at lunch. While this is a compliment for the quality of food being served, it was a bit of an awkward situation for both of us, to say the least, especially since you want to make sure he isn’t clearing the buffet before everyone gets a chance to eat! But we were able to discreetly ask him not to stuff anymore food into his backpack and everyone still had enough food! But you can’t blame a guy for trying!

2) Missing Chairperson
At another conference, the chairperson never turned up to kick-off the event. To make matters more interesting, it seemed he was missing as no one in his office knew where he was either and it actually was a little concerning for a few moments. But the mystery was finally solved, and he was found to be stranded on a broken down boat in California. Thanks to some of our regular speakers on-site who were willing to help us out, we were able to fill in the chairperson duties that day without anyone being any the wiser!

1) Speaker Falls off the Stage
Worst case scenario! A speaker fell head over heels off the back of the stage in front of a packed room of attendees. In the moment, this certainly was NOT a humorous situation and there were a few moments of concern for his well being. In a matter of seconds, however, he popped right back up without any injuries (just some understandable bruising to the ego), got right back up on stage and continued on with the discussion.

While these are some moments we never hope to be repeated, we wonder what 2011 will bring!

This entry was posted in Conference and Event Planning, Financial Technologies Forum (FTF), Fun Friday and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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