Covering large events can be intimidating – so much to do, so little you. Flow Communications staff get to cover many large events every year, from the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture to Meetings Africa and Afropunk. Here’s what we’ve learned.
It goes without saying that you should make doubly sure your access accreditation is in good order before you get to the event you’re covering, but we’re saying it anyway. Also, take some form of official identification with you.
Expect to be so busy that you’ll miss any meal provided. Take a bottle of water and snacks with you.
Be practical. Take things like energy bars, nuts, biltong, sweets – anything portable and light. You don’t want to be fiddling with lots of small boxes or dealing with a banana that is now smooshed at the bottom of your bag.
In fact, take extra snacks. You wouldn’t believe the glee with which one of our clients pounced on a packet of wine gums a colleague took to an event last year. It was a double-score moment for us – we impressed and sustained a client, and ensured a quick injection of sugar kept our own fingers tapping the keyboard keys.
Have pockets of power
The type of event, and what you’re expected to do at it, will dictate what you wear, but always dress to work and always, always, always wear comfortable, flat shoes. If it’s an outside event with lots of people attending, wear closed shoes.
Expect to have to carry things, and to do many tasks at once. Pockets, therefore, are your friend.
Also, take a good, lightweight bag that can carry a lot, preferably a backpack-style one. A bag with several pockets is a great idea – it could save you having to upend the thing on a table (or the floor) looking for something essential.
Take a moment to think about what you’re expected to do at the event. Pack accordingly, but, even if the tasks are super simple and will only require a cellphone, take a power bank or a charger and its adaptor.
Other essentials to put in the bag include extra phone and camera chargers, adaptors, an extension cord, scissors, measuring tape, fresh Prestik (if it’s old, it’s useless), elastic bands and paperclips (they’re amazing in any emergency).
If you have one of those multichargers, take it. In fact, consider getting one – you never know when someone else at an event will have forgotten to bring theirs. Being able to offer a friend or client a charger will win you big points, and that’s never a bad thing.
Bring a positive attitude
Take with you your good sense of humour, all the daring you can muster, a (polite) “won’t take no” attitude and patience – lots of patience. Have a plan, but know that few large events go exactly as expected. Be flexible, and stick to your tasks.