It all goes wrong: What would you do?

Posted In: ,

Broken ChainIt’s 5pm.  The room is going to be filling up in under 30 minutes with fans who have paid extra to have this time with you.

They’re your VIPs.

Nothing’s working.  The state-of-the-art equipment is failing and there’s no place to get a replacement for the most critical piece.

The room’s filling up.  People are excited to see you.  After all, this event was supposed to happen last February, but a blizzard forced you to cancel it.

It’s 5:30pm.  Your VIPs are here for a “Meet & Greet”.  The equipment still isn’t working.  You’ve called in friends and favors hoping to jeri-rig something.  Another hour and another 100+ fans will be arriving.

If you’re going to cancel, the time’s now.

What would you do? 

If you’re the band Zappa Plays Zappa, you stand tall, apologize to your fans and figure it out.Equipment Fail

Few things to note here:

  • The son (Dweezil) is playing his father’s (Frank’s) music.  Aside from the complexity of sound, every concert is a tribute to his Dad and Frank was/Dweezil is meticulous about how each note sounds.  The equipment that was broken meant they couldn’t make certain sounds/notes.
  • The crowd was a mix of first-timers and raving fans.  While raving fans are more forgiving, first-timers (especially when alcohol is involved) can be less so (I was sitting next to a group of the “less so” variety).
  • This was the first stop on a 32-stop North American tour.  With shows 1-5, being in 5 different cities on 5 consecutive days.  This problem needs resolving as soon as possible.

Dweezil and his Band made it work and, in the process, exhibited a few great lessons in overcoming adversity:

  • “It is what it is”.  What can you do to “make it work” without getting pissy and while holding your energy for your audience (whether in person, in writing, on social media, etc.)?
  • Accept what you can do, apologize and move on to provide the best experience possible.  This recently happened to me when Instant Teleseminar dropped me 7 times on a 60-minute call.  You cringe and want to give up.  Don’t.  Be a model for your audience.  95% of them will understand and cheer your efforts.  The other 5% can go elsewhere.
  • Communicate.  Don’t try to hide the issue and make people wonder what’s going on.  Keep us informed.  We’ll send positive energy and cheer you on.  Lack of communication, on the other hand, leads us to make up stories and wonder what’s happening (never a good thing).

What will you do the next time technology, your team, or something otherwise fails?

Do you have an example of when you, or someone you know, overcame adversity?  Please share in the comments section below — we’d love to hear it!