Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Risk Management

Part of the RDL team recently returned from the University of California’s Annual Risk Summit, which was held in Los Angeles this year. As you might imagine, there were workshops on topics spanning all types of Risk Management from Worksite Wellness to Driver Distraction to legal and contractual issues. As the meeting planners for the event, I wonder if there was an adequate assessment of risk for the event itself. We seldom encounter emergency situations but even a “small” emergency such as an attendee experiencing the onset of a mild asthma attack, as happened at this year’s Summit, needs to be handled quickly and knowledgeably.

It could all be a bit overwhelming to think of every possible area of event management. Enter the EMBOK, which stands for Event Management Body of Knowledge and is a project developed by Julia Rutherford Silvers ( There are five areas of management for an event of any kind, whether it is a music festival, training meeting, a large conference, or tradeshow. They are:

    Each of these five management domains has what Silvers calls “classes” or subdivisions. Each one of these needs to be considered in a safety plan or risk assessment.

    As the meeting planner, it may not be our role to make the decision to evacuate a building but it is our responsibility to have an emergency plan in place. By asking “what if…” or “what could go wrong?” in each of the areas of event management and documenting it, will be crucial in case anything does go wrong and evidence of this consideration is needed in court. Ask the question, “have we done our due diligence?” and discuss this with all members of the planning team, including the venue.

    As a natural optimist, I don’t personally look to what can go wrong in life. But as a professional meeting planner, I see this as an important and necessary part of the planning process in which we need to always be thinking two steps ahead. As Silvers states, “We cannot control things; the only thing we can truly control is our ability to respond if problems occur.”

    ~ Ginger Myrick • Meeting Planner, RDL enterprises