When Your Big Moment Goes Wrong

The Prime Minister’s keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference is a great example of how you can plan an event in minute detail yet it’s sometimes down to luck on the day.

Theresa May’s speech was always going to make headline news, but instead of the nation focusing on the words she was saying, we could barely hear it over her coughing fit.

While some twitter wags said her cough was a metaphor for the state of the nation and Brexit, others had sympathy. She’d been battling a cold all week and despite rehearsing the speech for days, there’s simply nothing you can do about falling ill.

Political journalists can be unforgiving but as Paul Brand of ITV said: “On a human level, you have to feel for May – months have gone into her speech, every word crafted and now she can barely get them out.”

It’s a good lesson in accepting that the weather, illness and unexpected traffic jams can all affect your event.

What was unforgivable in the management of her speech was the fact that a prankster was able to gatecrash the stage and hand the Prime Minister a fake P45. He stood there for several minutes, while she tried to ignore him and carry on talking.

Even worse, it wasn’t her own 10 Downing Street bodyguards who removed him, but conference security guards which is sure to prompt a review of her security team and how they allowed someone to get so close to her.

That is something which could, and should, have been prevented. There’s a very big difference between fate intervening and it being a disaster because you are unprepared.

If the worst happens at your event and it’s out of your control, sometimes how you handle it can be your saving grace. After her conference appearance was declared a disaster, Theresa May tweeted a copy of her speech with a packet of Strepsils and simply wrote *cough*


Image: Raul Mee (EU2017EE) via Flickr, Creative Commons.

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Lucy Ashton

Guest Blogger
Cream’s guest blogger Lucy Ashton is an award-winning journalist, PR and comms professional and politico. You can follow her ramblings @LutheBlue.

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