4 Flubs and Fixes When Handling a PR Crisis at Your Event
Jul 27, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

walking on hot coals

Last week, 6,000 individuals attended Tony Robbins "Unleash the Power Within" 4-day event in San Jose, California. Part of the program in overcoming their own fear is to walk on hot coals. However, this time things went very wrong and at least 21 individuals needed to be treated for 2nd or 3rd degree burns on the soles of their feet. 

Below are the 4 flubs from the event that Reuters New Agency reported and the fixes that any event meeting services organization can utilize when they face such a challenge.

Flub #1: Tony Robbins could not be reached for comment.

What?!? Tony Robbins is simpatico with is his seminars. How could this be?

Fix #1: He should have had an instantaneous comment and extended sympathy to the victims. 

Your team can rent iPads for the next event and use Google+ hangout, Twitter hashtag, or email as a way to instantaneously discuss what the senior level manager for your event is going to say and do. Given today's viral abilities to post video and photos instantaneously, it is equally important that the team monitor social channels and respond appropriately. 

Flub #2: Robbins Research International defended the "firewalk" as a regular part of the Unleash seminar.

21 people were just treated at your seminar and you preach "business as usual"? Defensiveness never wins people over, it just makes you look like you don't care. 

Fix #2: Sorrow, re-evaluation of techniques, and revamp. 

This is not the time to defend any of your current practices. It is a time to express sorrow for any pain the victims felt and to assure all current and future participants your organization is in the process of re-evaluating and revamping your procedures so something like this can ever happen again. 

Flub #3: Fire and emergency personnel were not on hand. 

Fix #3: If you are going to try something that is risky, have emergency personnel onsite. 

Having fire, police, and/or EMS onsite in case something goes awry is always the safest method during a risky process and saves a lot of time. Most of the time, you will have a 10- or 15-minute delay before emergency personnel shows up. 

Flub #4: Event organizers for the Robbins event did not know how many people participated in the firewalk. 

Fix #4: Know your numbers. 

If 2,000 individuals participated in the firewalk, Tony Robbins could have stated that he was so sorry that 1% of his firewalking attendees were hurt. This low percentage takes the wind out of the media's sales. One of the easy ways to capture numbers is to have everyone pre-register for the optional adventure, such as a firewalk, on a touch panel kiosk. That way you not only know the total number of individuals participating, but you also have their names and email addresses. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment supplier, has iPads and kiosk rentals that can help you keep in constant contact with your team, attendees, and emergency personnel. Give them a call today to learn more about their equipment options! 

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