With millions of people watching in Times Square and on television, an alleged equipment failure caused a catastrophe during Mariah Carey's New Year's Eve performance. It revealed that not only revealed was she lip-synching, but caused her to stumble through a song, complaining out loud about her equipment, and eventually giving up.
Her reaction afterwards? "Shit happens."
Is that the same reaction that you take when catastrophe strikes? What do you do to prepare in advance to minimize how glitches impact your performance or business. Here are a couple handy ways you can work to avoid your "Mariah Moment":
- Consider the Worst-Case Scenario: By visualizing the worst possible outcomes of a situation, we can plan for how to work through them. A massive technical failure on the world's biggest stage would have been disastrous, which is exactly why they should have planned for it.
- Have a Plan for Expected Problems: If you know that 95% of the time when a customer/client/partner has an issue and it's normally one of 4-5 common items, those are situations you can plan for. Think through all of the times an interaction or business pitch went south and write down all of the reasons why. There is your list of scenarios to plan for. Audio problems are something live performers experience constantly, So it's something that should have been planned for.
- Take Responsibility. Period. In the days following the performance blame was shifted from the performer to the TV production company, with no one willing to take responsibility for the failure. Regardless of what factors play in to a disaster, take ownership of the problem and the responsibility for what went wrong. Even if an outside factor does play into an issue, accept and own your role in how it came to play. Your customers, co-workers, and partners will respect that.
We all know that things can go south quickly and the difference between handling them smoothly and an on-stage meltdown is a result of planning for the worst, planning for common problems, and accepting responsibility when something does go wrong.
Other suggestions for the list? Leave a note in the comments below!