Top “Plan B” Questions When Bad Weather Strikes

Gail Davis, 29 January 2015

We booked one of our top speakers at a client lecture series on Tuesday, January 27. As soon as the severe weather predictions hit the airwaves, we started to evaluate the situation and possible scenarios. We had less than 24 hours to make a decision. Here are the “Plan B” questions:

Change in Speaker Travel: Could our speaker fly in early before the storm? The answer was no because she had to be at an important engagement on Tuesday morning.

Change in Transportation: If a commercial flight did not work with our speaker’s schedule, could a private plane be an option? The answer was no because as the blizzard conditions grounded commercial flights, the same applied to private planes.

Change in Circumstances: Is it possible the weather reports are wrong, and the storm will not be as bad as the predictions? At first there was a desire to be optimistic, and we considered waiting and taking our chances. But receiving news that it might be declared a National Emergency, the answer was no. We decided that taking our chances was not a wise decision.

Change in Speakers: Since the event was part of a lecture series, could we switch out our speaker with another speaker, already booked in the same series, who was not traveling from the Northeast? The answer was no since the series ticket holders have planned their calendars based on the actual speaker, so a swap in speakers would not work well, in this case.

With a “No” to all questions, we were able to reach the decision that we must cancel. The client, holding the lecture series, and our speaker are all pros and understood that while we are in the business of making things happen, sometimes Mother Nature gets in the way, and that’s why contracts have Force Majeure clauses.

Along the way, we were also reminded of how important it is to stay on top of the weather, have all pertinent cell numbers and do not be afraid to make tough decisions. We now are in the process of finding another date and the show will go on. To sunnier days!

Gail Davis is Founder and President of GDA Speakers, working with speakers and organizations to create the ultimate customer experience.

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