Once the event is up and running, I’m normally on site an hour or two before the doors open every day and stay there until another hour after the close, making sure that everything’s working as it should. At the bigger events, we may have several staff members present, taking charge of registrations, exhibitor services, visitor queries and our temporary event staff. At some events however, I can be the sole point of contact so I need to be able to step up to the plate on several different issues.That’s ok though; the only thing that I find really challenging is when we have to cope with something outside of our control. Losing power or internet access are the biggest headaches and this is where the job can get a bit stressful. I remember this happening at an oil and gas industry event in Nigeria where a very long queue of disgruntled visitors – who had all paid to attend the event – very quickly formed once the power went down. Faced with unhappy customers, the challenge is to stay cool and calm, although this proved difficult on that occasion as it turned out I’d also just contracted malaria!
As soon as the event closes, we have to start breaking everything down. There’s no option of coming back the next day. Even on the more local events, it can be gone midnight before we get home. There will be a debrief meeting at some point to discuss how the event went but if we’re involved with back-to-back events, I can sometimes be away from home for weeks.