Where is a “Google Map” when you need one?

Which way am I supposed to go?

Which way am I supposed to go?

There are so many different directions that you can go when it comes to planning an event that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which direction will get you to the event you want to end up with. 

Do you want to celebrate a milestone achievement? How about thanking your clients for being so loyal? Rewarding your employees for working so hard? Marketing a new product? The reasons for hosting an event are endless.

Of course once you have figured out WHAT you want to accomplish by hosting an event you get to face the many choices on HOW to get to that end result. Now comes all the details that are required to reach your event goals. Some are obvious, some seem relatively unimportant but all of them conspire to create the sum total of your event.

Some people are happy to wander through the event planning process and face all the twisting, turning ruts in the road on their own. Most find it easier to navigate the details with the help of a professional event planner. Event planners have already worked through the pitfalls of working with the myriad vendors that provide event services. They can provide you with a well defined map that outlines how to get from point A to point B in the straightest course possible. The best part of working with an event planner is that they become the tour guide, providing all the details and overseeing the journey so you can sit back and enjoy the final destination.

Mystic of Logistics

IntrosPECtive Poll

I’m with the Band

There is a country western song with a line that goes something like this… “sometimes it gets so confusin’ that I don’t know where I am, but I always know who I’m with…I’m with the band.”

One of the most interesting things we have come across is the “I’m with the Band” mentality. For lack of better terminology it is an attitude of entitlement to VIP treatment simply because they are a member, roadie, or guest of the band. We’ve experienced everything from demands for private dressing rooms, private green rooms, and their own food and beverage station.

Let’s not forget the unspoken expectation that they will be provided free alcoholic beverages through the night. We actually had one occasion where a band member asked for free drinks for the entire band in front of our client. It made our client feel awkward and it made us feel awkward. Of course it made the asker feel awkward too and he hurriedly made his exit.  It wasn’t that we couldn’t and didn’t eventually get authorization to get the band drinks but he put us and our client on the spot.

Then of course, there was the time that we had scheduled load in to a venue that had a small dock and everything needed to be on a tight schedule and we discovered a van parked in the middle of the street blocking traffic to and from the loading dock with vinyl magnets on its doors that simply said, “Band”. As if that gave them permission to do whatever they wanted.

We’ve gone rounds with band members in charge of the sound system that wanted to have the mixing board right in the middle of the event, blocking flow and creating an unsightly presentation. In their opinion we needed to do things their way, why? Isn’t it obvious? It’s because they are the band. After patient explanation we eased their frustration and managed to save the overall flow and function of the event.

A band can add a whole different level of entertainment to an event and is worth the extra effort that might be required on a planning level. The key is to plan for the “I’m with the band” attitude in advance so you aren’t thrown for a loop when a band member decides they should get to go through the buffet line before it is open for the guests of the party. When an event planner is prepared dealing with the band is actually an entertaining part of the job. Keep your sense of humor and everything will go well. Don’t get us started on DJ’s that a whole different blog!

Chitter, Chatter…What’s the Matter?

An event is filled with all kinds of things happening at once but one of the things paid the least attention to is chit chat. After all events are made for teaching and educating, for laughing and talking so who cares if your event staff is chatting away the time while they are working

As an event planner if the job is getting done does it really matter that the caterers are talking amongst themselves as they oversee the buffets? Or that the photographer has stopped to talk with one of the bartenders? Let’s face it, this is an industry like any other, and event industry professionals know each other and often cross paths at various functions. It’s natural to become friends and use that time to catch up with each other. Think of an event as being the proverbial water cooler for people in this business.

The relationships are important and from personal experience we know that it is the strength of those relationships that can save an event planner when crisis hits albeit whether that crisis is situational or economical.  A wise event planner walks a fine line of balancing real relationship building against the wrong kind of idle chit chat. 

Your pianist is having a baby…that’s great news! The ballroom dancers are discussing the eccentric attire of the guests…Bad news! The DJ is hiring a new employee…fantastic! The stilt walker is chatting with the balloon twister that your client’s product is inferior…Disaster! It only takes a moment for someone to overhear something they weren’t intended to hear and you could have a catastrophe on your hands and never know it until it’s too late to stop the damage.

What makes skilled event planners is their ability to plan for every possible contingency and to know what to do when those issues arise. We tweak and correct things as they are happening. Essentially we stamp out the fires closest to us so that we aren’t left standing in a huge inferno wondering what went wrong. Don’t allow yourself to be blindsided by something as seemingly inconsequential as chit chat.

 As event planners it is easy to walk around an event and listen to what is being said. We do it all the time. The question is simply are you listening only to hear the positive feedback? Go a step further and actively listen to what is really being said around you. Stopping inappropriate conversation that you might not want overheard by your client and their guests can be just as vital to keeping a happy satisfied client as picking the perfect caterer and décor. Ignorance may be bliss but in this instance it just may be the straw the breaks the camel’s back.