Awards, galas and recognition dinners are meant to be sparkling occasions where raising a glass to success is top of mind. Unfortunately, they don’t always go that way and sometimes, a “Plan B” has to be enacted. Take a look at these 5 scenarios, from comedic to tragic, and see how smart planners, marketers, PR pros and execs turned the perception and measure of success in their favor.
1 – “We’ve got some technical difficulties…” – Use this time to allow your guests to network with each other – after all, they’re here to celebrate each other’s successes. If your awards ceremony, gala, or recognition dinner has press or media present, perhaps even set up a couple of interviews with the lucky winners. Adding a networking element is always a good value-add. People will appreciate being able to connect with others and be recognized. Next time though, be sure to test – and re-test – your equipment!
2 – “We have to stay on track!” – It’s difficult to have a set schedule for an awards ceremony, gala, or recognition dinner so sometimes when some award recipients or even your presenter goes on for too long, there’s the issue of getting through the entire program on time. This could also be boring for the audience, so be sure to set some ground rules on how much time should be spent on each section of the schedule. It can’t get longer every year, like the Oscars, and then go through post-editing! Always plan for more time, or even switch up the venue for a reception for some ceremonies or portions thereof, to break it up a bit and stay on task.
3 – That’s not the right name! – “Adele Dazeem” – who? It was a pretty notable fail when John Travolta mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name at the 86th Academy Awards. If you’re hosting an event with a variety of recipients, make sure your presenters can correctly pronounce the names on the list BEFORE the event starts. When it happened to Idina Menzel, it was pretty humorous and she might have been able to “let it go” but it was a fail moment nonetheless! It went viral and there are even Adele Dazeem name generators, so you could definitely add a humorous touch with it if this does happen at your event.
4 – Everyone’s bored! – Make sure your presenter is engaging and relevant. Awards ceremonies, galas, and recognition dinners should be relaxing and upbeat – after all you’re celebrating all the success resulting from hard work. At the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais may not have bored everyone with his offensive jokes, but he did not fit the bill for what they needed in a presenter so they had to pull him off for an hour and he returned with more restraint. Unfortunately, if you didn’t plan for this ahead of time, you may have to just cut several speeches short and avoid dragging it out.
5 – There’s no better time to celebrate. – Your awards ceremony, gala, or recognition dinner may be invite-only for the recipients and their family/friends. However, if it’s a corporate event where everyone is invited, there are bound to be people who are upset that they didn’t win. A company in India, Tata Group, actually implemented a separate awards program for “failures” as “Dare to Try” the year after someone was so upset that his colleagues had to pry him away. You can celebrate new innovations, even if projects weren’t successful.
Remember to check, re-chek, test and rehearse for the best results. Most of all plan for the worst but expect the best. After all… sometimes, failure is the predecessor of success. What better time to plan for failures than at an event that celebrates success?