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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Save the day by remembering 3 Ps: Plan. Prepare. Prevent.

Road sign that reads Be Prepared

How often are you in charge of an event? Often? Sometimes? Or rarely?

Your answer may be related to your history of successful execution.

I must have a good track record because I seem to be put in charge of everything. All. The. Time.

In the past few weeks, I have overseen an art program for youth, an extension homemaker class, a webinar, a benefit concert, an awards ceremony, a reception, hosted field trips for 159 4th graders, and organized and taught a 3-hour class for college students.

Has every detail flowed perfectly? Not exactly. We forgot to put out trays to collect dirty glassware at the reception and had to find them in the moment. Did anyone notice? No.

For the most part, things went according to plan, because there was a plan. The plan was communicated to all involved. We remained flexible to changes in the plan. And we stayed positive.

In other words, we followed these…

5 Tips for Attending to Logistical Details

The inspiration for this tip series came from Chapter 33 in Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide, which describes the rationale for, components of, and strategies for logistical planning and disaster prevention. Download a free copy.

Tip #1 Success is not an accident

Logistical planning and preparation serve to prevent disasters and ensure that an event runs smoothly. Careful planning enhances the experience for the audience and allows presenters to focus on communicating effectively.

A well-planned event is a coordinated effort between all parties involved. Be intentional about planning and the final execution will be a success.

Tip #2 Plan every detail

Logistical planning involves arranging who, what, when, and where for an event. Speaker and location arrangements are among the first details to plan. This is followed by facility planning, technology arrangements, and securing needed supplies.

Determine who is responsible for each step. Communicate early and often to make decisions and confirm arrangements.

Tip #3 Keep detailed records

Create systems for tracking all arrangements and correspondence. Use digital or physical file systems to store all records. Put all deadlines into a master timeline and communicate important dates to all responsible parties.

Strive to meet deadlines in advance. Check and double-check the completion of each task. Keep careful notes for future reference.

Tip #4 Have a backup plan

Throughout the planning and preparation process, build in contingency plans because “life happens.” It pays to expect the unexpected so that when disaster strikes it doesn’t take you by surprise.

Pack the umbrella, the extension cord, and the duct tape. Have contact information for all of the key players. Arrive early. Go over all of your lists, twice. Stay calm. Be flexible.

Tip #5 Maintain a positive attitude

From the start of planning through reading the final evaluation, keep a positive attitude. Be the person others want to work with. Be observant, attending to the details without getting bogged down. Focus on the purpose for the event and the people involved.

When things go wrong, and they likely will, maintain your composure. You will be remembered for handling things well.

These 5 tips can be summarized in 3 words: Plan. Prepare. Prevent.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

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