Sunday 14 April 2019

First Impressions

When an attendee first arrives at an event the first interaction that they have with a representative of the event is when they approach the event site and encounter event safety or security staff.

How the next few minutes go can frame that attendees whole event experience.

To optimise the attendees experience there first impression needs to be a good one.  This then sets the tone for there entire time at an event.  It also means that if you need to speak with them later or challenge there behavior that they are likely to be more receptive.

So, it is all about the little things.  Greet them.  Talk with them.  Understand that this could be there first visit to the site so perhaps mention where facilities that may be of interest to them are located.

Ask yourself a simple question.  If I was this person how would I like to be treated and what would wow me.  Once you have the answer to this question then you also have the guide on how to treat them.

If you don't create a good first impression then this can cause problems. 

The attendee can become aggressive or enter the event in a bad mood or with the impression that event staff are "jobsworths".  This in turn can effect every other interaction with staff during there presence at the event.

As an example many years ago I was working a football game where the rules were that children could sit on sponsor boards so long as they were being supported by an adult behind them.  During the first half a member of the event staff had spoken with a supporter who had two children and was only supporting them both partially.  There interaction did not go well.

When I was patrolling through in the second half I found the same person in the same situation.  When the attendee saw me he responded very aggressively.  The behavior was such that I could quite legitimately have him ejected or arrested.

Instead, I moved alongside him, pointed to a  group of event safety staff in the corner and told him that my boss thinks that I'm talking with you the fact that your children can't both be on the boards whilst you are standing here alone.  Not to worry though because I have a sneaky suspicion that our conversation is going to finish around the time when you are no longer alone.

Thankfully this managed to defuse the situation but it was one that could have been avoided had the first impression been better.

Sunday 7 April 2019

I want to say yes.

One of the greatest challenges that can face an Event Safety Manager is when an organiser, vendor or other party springs a surprise addition to an event.  This can be an additional attraction, a last minute addition to a running order or any other kind you can think of.

As part of my job I have to assess this surprise and consider the consequences to other parts of the event and to the demand on my available safety resources.

There are times when I have to say no to such plans on safety grounds.  This is not something that I want to do and at times can cause further issues.  My preferred course of action is to find a way that I can say yes.

The more notice that I am given the better chance I have of saying yes and setting about mitigating any identified risks.

I don't want to have to say no and I will only ever do so as a last resort but I am quite prepared to do so.

Having said that and to be clear.  It is your event and if you insist that something is going to happen then you can overrule me.  Overruling me though has it's own consequences and risks.

I will ask you to complete paperwork to the effect that you are going ahead against my advice.  At this stage I will also leave site.  This in effect can close your event as my presence (or the presence of an Event Safety Manager) may be part of the licence or conditions of your event.

To protect against this I will usually look to agree a deadline prior to the event when everything is locked in.

I also do this as I want to say yes.  I want to work with you to put on a safe event.  I also want to continue working with you for any future events as well.