Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why event planning sometimes feels like a bad/good/horrible first date…….

Now…..you all are saying to yourself, “how is she going to make this comparison work?”, or “honestly….what some people will do to get attention on their blog”. But, I have been thinking about this for quite some time and there are some very real comparisons to be made between a first date and the relationship that a planner may have with a first time client.

The “Hugger”:

You all know what I mean……many of us have had experiences with a hugger. Generally, you get a sense of this during your first meeting when the client envelopes you in a great big bear hug, crushing her moon beads (her necklace….get your minds out of the gutter) into your chest. She is just “certain that you are going to do a great job”, because she is “sensing great energy” in the room. It actually was the hum of the air conditioner, but you don’t want to ruin her moment. Do not confuse the “Hugger” with ……

The “Cuddler”:

The cuddler is the client who seems really normal before and during the event, but afterwards, just wants to “cuddle”. And by cuddling, I mean they won’t leave you alone. They call you to go for coffee on a daily basis, they invite you to dinner, they text you with things like, “seems like just yesterday we were picking out menus together (insert happy face emoticon here)”. They want the relationship to continue, aka “lets be friends”. They cross the client/planner boundary. Unfortunately, you can never work for them again, because they probably will expect you to give them the “friends” rate. Don’t get me wrong, we all have clients who become friends, but the “cuddler” becomes a creepy friend.

“I just called to say I love you……”:

Kind of like the “hugger” and “cuddler” rolled into one. Terrifying….simply terrifying.

The stalker:

Not to be confused with the micro manager. The stalker is always watching or having someone else watch and report back to them. They don't want to be perceived as micro managing, so they delegate someone else to do it.

I’m not laughing at you, I am laughing with you:

The client who never takes anything seriously.

It’s not you…it’s me and by that I mean that it actually is you:

You just didn’t click, therefore you won’t be making event magic together today or well….ever.

The “quickie”:

This is the out of town client who contacts you via your website, you only ever speak with them on the phone, you only meet them in person the day of the event and then never hear from them again.

We just don’t share the same values….:

Your client is balloon arches and plastic table skirting and you are LED lighting and sustainable centerpieces.

The Daredevil:

“What do you mean we need a back up plan?”

The Passive Aggressive :

“Here you go (hands the planner a daily planner/notebook), I thought you might need a nice notebook, I notice you never write anything down”.

I welcome any other examples…..I am certain there are more out there.

Being an event planner is a constant test of communication skills. Not everyone will like you and you will not like everyone. That is life. However, you do need to get along with many different personality types and be able to switch up your communication strategies as new situations/personalities emerge. Planning an event is stressful for clients, many of whom look upon the success or failure of the event as a personal reflection of themselves. Stressful situations can bring out the best and worst in people, it is our job to (as Tim Gunn from Project Runway says) “Make it work”.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

As Canadian as Rex Murphy

I am Canadian. I am a proud Canadian. But......sometimes I forget just how wonderful it feels to be born and live our lives in this great country. I was reminded of that this week after having the distinct pleasure of hearing a keynote presentation by National Post columnist and CBC Radio Host, Rex Murphy. Rex was speaking at the 2011 BC Oil & Gas Conference in Fort Nelson, a conference which I had coordinated.

Murphy has a unique manner of drawing you in close to him while he is speaking. He tells stories of his life as a Newfoundlander and of the triumphs and the struggles of his fellow Newfoundlanders. He makes you laugh and he also can render a room silent in reflective thought. He reminds us that life can change in a heartbeat (vanishing cod fishery) and how having compassion for our fellow man is life changing.

Murphy is a wordsmith on a level that I had not seen before. He doesn't throw them around at random, he doesn't waste a word...instead he carefully selects each word he uses, artfully and intelligently weaving it into the presentation.

I am Canadian, but after hearing Rex Murphy remind us of how wonderful our country is, I hold my head up high as a proud Canadian.

If you ever have the opportunity to book Rex Murphy as a speaker......do not walk, but RUN to your telephone and contact the National Speaker's Bureau. He is simply that good.