WHEN CHALLENGES ARISE… WHO YA GONNA CALL?
As much planning as event planners do, day-in and day-out, there is always something that comes up during the process that makes you have to pivot on a dime. It is part of the job to be able to anticipate each and every possible outcome, snag and snafu and have the perfect way to solve it in a moment’s notice – it is a big part of how and why a client can relinquish the control and pass things into your capable hands. These are the the behind the scenes kind of things that keep you on your toes and keep your skills sharp. But none of this is a surprise to anyone that has been in the business for more than a minute.
The question is how do you create strong relationships with vendors, venues, clients (both current and past alike), colleagues and friends that will pitch in when needed to help save the day. At the end of the day, everyone likes to feel like the hero if possible.
In my opinion, you need to be the same authentic version of yourself in business as you are in your personal life. While we are “working”, we are also sharing an enormous amount of time in our week creating a rapport with one another and building a sense of trust and understanding. Transparency in your interactions and remembering that everyone you come in contact with is either a colleague or client in some manner or another sets this ball in motion. Creating a personal connection with people I think is easiest when we connect face to face, or by telephone…but today so much is done in a face-less, name-less kind of way.
(Remember when your mom would always say, “be sure to send a hand-written thank-you note”!) Try giving yourself a goal of picking up the phone 3 times a day instead of emailing or texting.
Ask when you get on the phone if they have a quick moment or if this is a good time to chat…the person on the other end will appreciate your consideration of their time and responsibilities and if they can’t talk, they will often give you another time they are available. You may be surprised at how this easy exercise can help you build life long connections.
Let me tell you a short story of how this helped me one day. In a prior lifetime, I worked on the vendor side of things working on a gala with an event planner. When the event planner wanted more lighting impact at the entrance to the gala within an hour of guest arrival, I wanted to help be part of the solution (even though I was the florist). I quickly dialed a friend working for a lighting company (P.S. a different lighting company than who was already onsite hired for the event) to see if they could help. Much to my wonderment, they were actually working around the corner on an unrelated event and had some extra equipment with them. They not only offered to drive right over to set up their accent lights for use throughout the evening, but they didn’t even charge for the product or service!! I repeat…at the end of the day, everyone likes to feel like the hero if possible.
The other moral to this story, is to be sure to “pay it forward”. One day someone you know is going to call you in a dire situation needing rescue before guests arrive…be sure you answer the call, and rise up and be their hero too!