If you have not yet created an invitation, this one may give you some ideas. You can use it as-is or customize it to meet your needs.
I vary tabletop invitations to fit the situation. Below is one of the invitations I find useful and well accepted by participants.
You or the Incident Commander can send the invitation. I recommend it be sent from the Incident Commander.
The main goal of the invitation is to communicate that the tabletop is very important and will be fun and low stress. We are testing the plans – not the people. We want to find gaps prior to the real event… that is the goal of the exercise!
When I was a Senior Technical Officer I was on the other side of the fence. I was a tabletop attendee, rather than the host. Prior to a tabletop:
- All of the attendees, including myself, had stress
- We thought we had to know all the answers
- We thought we had to score 100%
- We thought we might be reported to upper management if we did not have all of the answers
- We thought we would be embarrassed if we did not know everything to a ‘T’. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth!
The more you can get people to relax and eager to participate, share and learn, the more successful your tabletop will be. Tabletops can be one of the most fun and valuable services we provide. I have enjoyed every one of the hundreds of tabletops I have had the pleasure to host, and so will you.
Sample invitation below. Please customize for your organization:
(items in brackets <<…>>> are variables. You should pop in your specific information.
I am happy to announce we will be having our annual Business Continuity tabletop exercise on <<Day>> <<Month>> <<Date>> beginning at <<Start Time>> to <<End Time>> in <<Building location>> Conference Room <<Conference room identifier>>. Please arrive a few minutes early to sign the attendance sheet and we will be able to start promptly at <<Start Time>>. Light refreshments will be served.
This is not a test.The goal of the tabletop is to share information and insure we can respond to and recover from any disruptive event we encounter. We will review our plans and if we discover gaps we will close them prior to a real event. The expectation is not that you have all the answers.
During the tabletop, we will work our way through a disaster scenario. It will be a facilitated discussion and an open dialogue forum. All viewpoints will be respected.
We will be respectful of your time. The exercise will last no more than the allotted time – possibly a little less.
If you are not able to attend, please designate a person in your department that can represent you. All departments must be represented at the tabletop. If you are able to attend you are welcome to bring an additional attendee.
Please let me know in advance.
Please review and bring a copy of your business continuity plan to the exercise.
If you have any questions or concerns please let me know. I promise the exercise will be informative, fun and low stress.
<<Incident Commander or You>>