introsPECtives



Dial 1-800-help-me!

Today was a day like any other…I go about my business and in the course of conversation with some lovely ladies I discover they are two members of a committee planning an event for a local non-profit organization. They began telling me how they had “just gotten together” with six weeks to an event date they have already solidified. One of them starting talking about how many tables they were going to need and the conversation went on from there.

I started asking them questions about the event, basic logistics questions that I handle every day in the course of my work. They hadn’t thought of the simplest things like linens to cover the tables, how many chairs will sit around each table, plates, silverware, serving dishes for the food they were going to make, how much time it would take them to set everything up. The little details that make an event were just overlooked. They didn’t even know to ask each other the appropriate questions.

So, I just kept asking questions until they walked away with a list of things they needed to address in the six weeks they have until the event.   I offered suggestions for where they could find items, people they could talk to about donations and generally gave them the benefit of my expertise as an event planner. However, I walked away worried about the community event because I could see logistical problems in their plans. It isn’t my event. I’m not part of the non-profit organization, I haven’t been hired to plan it or even to consult on it but I have still spent all afternoon thinking about what they could do different to make it more efficient and turn a better profit.

The biggest thing I walked away from the conversation with was the reminder that people, organizations and yes even planning committees have no idea how important an event planner’s role really is. Even if we don’t plan the event we offer one hour consulting packages that would often resolve the most important issues of an event. I spent thirty minutes with these ladies and they walked away armed with a comprehensive action item list. In another thirty minutes of focused time we could have  resolved timeline issues, set up,tear down and venue logistics as well.

The cost of an hour consultation would have saved them countless planning hours, numerous frustrations and wasted financial expenditures by getting the wrong items or items that could have been found for a better price through a different vendor or even donated. I hope their event is a success and that the non-profit organization truly benefits. I hope the committee learns and grows from this experience and each year goes by it gets better. Who knows, maybe someday they will actually hire an event planner to help them out too.

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