The Flake Factor

Why do they do it? Why do people agree to perform or volunteer only to bail at the last minute? Welcome to a nagging variable event planners face: The Flake Factor.

There are warning signs. If the person is from out of town, they never get around to making their travel arrangements. If a request for information is emailed, they never reply. It’s bad enough to make a commitment and then back out, but why string the event planner along?

There are two kinds of Flakes. The first is the no show. They give no warning or heads up. They just don’t show. You would think that’s the worst kind of Flake, but the Flake of the highest order lies about their reason to flake. Obviously, they are trying to save face, but both parties know it’s a lie.

To counter this, event planners have wait lists and “bullpens” so they can fill the holes as they appear. It works for the most part, but when it comes to a performance, you can’t replace a high-profile artist at the eleventh hour.

I recently had an experience with someone I thought was a Flake, but turned out to be a hero. He couldn’t do a speaking engagement for a legitimate reason, but instead of saying sorry and walking away with shrugged shoulders and hands up, he lined up another speaker who was a peer. Needless to say, I was shocked.

To all the event planners out there, how do you deal with Flakes? Email us at and share your solutions to this problem. To all you Flakes out there, shame on you.