If ever there was an industry well-versed in Murphy’s Law, it’s ours, says NOEA’s Susan Tanner

We are experts, daily practitioners and regular preachers at the font of ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong’. Events, by their very nature are breeding grounds for examples of Murphy’s Law, and every day we take it on, try and prove it wrong, and sometimes fail.

But I recently re-read some of the many internet definitions of Murphy’s Law and a few of them resonated with me. Some have the classic ‘what can go wrong, will go wrong’, others have a slightly more nuanced version: ‘What can go wrong will go wrong, if you let it’. Immediately I started thinking of NOEA members and I’m pretty sure they would prefer the second variation.

So, why the new interest in all this? Well, I’m delighted to announce through this column that the theme for the NOEA Annual Convention 2018 will be ‘It Could Never Happen to Me!’.

Why? Because if anything sums up a NOEA member it is their approach to this very subject. How can we, as an industry, protect ourselves and our guests from the inevitability of micro failures at events, and how do we deal with the consequences? For me this is a return to our roots as an organisation. NOEA represents elite businesses and individuals who work in the background to make events happen. Without us the excitement on stage and in stadia can’t and won’t happen.

However, we’re as equally responsible for forgetting the basics of what it takes to be a great event professional (and a stand out NOEA member). One is that we must always be vigilant, interrogative and share learning as a community to ensure we’re constantly innovating the world of infrastructure, people, Health & Safety and operational effectiveness. One of the great hiding places of many an event professional is ‘But that could never happen to me, right?’ Unfortunately, not. Wrong.

Over the course of the convention we’ll show real life examples of what can happen when we take our eye off the ball and show what this means for the event as well as the event organiser.

Another standard that makes us great professionals, and one that we’ll explore at the convention, is that we’re also using our knowledge to help events happen, to rise to the creative challenges of our clients, and to be bold enough to say ‘yes’ as well as ‘no’. The one thing that unites every member of NOEA is their passion for the events industry and we set ourselves the task of enabling events, not stopping them. This is a great challenge for us in a world more under scrutiny, where organisations and local authorities can be more fearful than they used to be.

As ever, through the NOEA convention we’re looking to make good from the bad, and to send out a positive message from our industry, about our industry. In the past, we’ve looked at broad subjects, commerciality and creativity, so this year we’re going more granular; how do we put on great events, safely and securely. How do we enable an industry and protect the people we serve? How do keep on making events happen?